Feast of Saint John of Egypt, Hermit
As we move through the fourth week of Lent we are reminded of this being a joyful and hope filled time in the midst of our Lenten resolutions. An oasis in the middle of the desert. Some of us may still be struggling a day at a time with those things we have chosen to let go of for 40 days. Some of us may be cruising along and doing just fine.
The reading from the prophet Isaiah is that message of hope in the desert. A reminder of the covenant that was given to us though our ancestors of Salvation History. A message that calls us out of darkness and out of imprisonment. In the Scriptures these two things are not always literal. We can be in the dark about many things, especially ourselves. We can be imprisoned by our fears, addictions, low self esteem or an abusive situation. Isaiah reminds us that God does not forget the sons and daughters that he has created out of love. It is this relationship that we have with God that is cause for much rejoicing. We are not forgotten! We are not alone! Isaiah reminds us that we are “comforted” and “shown mercy”. This mercy and love is beyond any that can be shown by the best of humans. It exceeds all human capabilities. It is one of those “mysteries of God” that is difficult to wrap one’s mind around. And it is good to be reminded from time to time that God is kind, merciful and loving. God wants us to be happy!
What makes me happy?
The reading from the Gospel of John, in its complexity, simply is this: God has given us eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ. All we need to do is to “hear” the Word of God and believe. The believe part is what is hard for most of us. Belief/Faith is a gift and God really does want us to have this free gift. It is our humanness that becomes the road block. I always remind my students that, “The hardest thing in life is being a Christian.” It is hard! The Word of God is not always easy to listen to. It challenges us to think and grow. The passage from John’s Gospel is complex and hard to comprehend or even wrap our minds around. I had to read it several times and ponder it for a few days before it began to sink in. The relationship that the Father and the Son have is one that is very complex and beyond human understanding. Yet God understands us. Knowing that we struggle with understanding eternal life. Eternal life is the ultimate place of rejoicing. Take time this week to rejoice in all you are in Christ.
Today, read the Gospel passage several times until a word or phrase touches your heart. Take that to prayer. What message is Jesus giving you?
Linda Schork is a theology teacher at Saint Xavier High School in Louisville, Kentucky