March 18, 2015

March 18

March 18, 2015:  Wednesday, Fourth Week of Lent

  • Blue shirt: Lord guides his people beside springs of water (1st reading)
  • 'Phone' tie bar:  The Lord is near to all who call upon him (psalm)
  • "I ♥ my dad" tie with baby feet:  Can a mother forget her child? (1st reading), Father/Son love (gospel)
  • Purple suspenders:  Lenten season

Pope Francis audience
Children are a great gift for humanity and the Church, but countless children live in poverty and need.  A society can be judged by how it treats its children.  From our earliest years, we're dependent on others, as Jesus was.  To enter God's kingdom, we must never consider ourselves self-sufficient, but in need of help, love, and forgiveness.  Children remind us we're always sons and daughters, given life, radically dependent.  They challenge us to see with a simple, pure, trusting heart.  They can receive and offer warmth and tenderness, laugh and cry freely, and trust parents, God, Jesus, and Mary.  Jesus urges us to become like them, since God’s Kingdom belongs to such as these.    Our children bring us life, joy, and hope; welcome and treasure them!
  • Is 49:8-15  I'll restore the land and say to prisoners, "Come out!" and to those in darkness, "Show yourselves!"  They won't hunger or thirst.  I'll lead and guide them.  I'll cut a road through my mountains, comfort you, and show mercy.  Can a mother forget her infant?  Even should she, I'll never forget you.
  • Ps 145:8-9, 13cd-14, 17-18  "The Lord is gracious and merciful."  The Lord is good, faithful, and just, near to all who call on him.  He lifts up the falling.
  • Jn 5:17-30  The Jews tried to kill Jesus because he broke the sabbath and called God his father.  Jesus:  The Son can only do what he sees the Father doing.  The Son, like the Father, gives life; whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life.  The dead will hear the Son and rise:  those who have done good, to life; others, to condemnation.  I seek the will of the one who sent me.
  • Creighton:  Isaiah uses the image of a mother’s love to make God's love more concrete.  Though today mothers can be without tenderness for their children and forget or destroy them, we get the message of God's unconditional mother-like love, even if we can sometimes feel abandoned by God.  God can restore us to awareness of his love.
  • One Bread One Body:  "On the threshold of...":   Desolation will be replaced by restoration.  People trapped in the prison of sin will come out.  Many will return from self-imposed exile to life in God's kingdom.  Heaven and earth will sing because of the comfort and mercy the Lord will give.  Myriads will pass from death to life by hearing God's Word and believing.
  • Passionist:  “Come out of the darkness, for the Lord comforts his people and shows mercy.”  God's mission to love us and bring us to life is one with Jesus'.  God's saving love is intimate, personal concern.  Today's gospel reminds us of the unity of Jesus with the Father and of his living of the Father’s will.  The Father is constantly loving us, raising us to life, not judging us but calling us to trust.  Jesus' life and witness stand in contrast to other messages we receive, e.g. that we can make our lives full by ourselves.  We believe we were created in God's image and brought to perfection in Jesus.  Life's essence is relational loving and sacrifice.  Lord, give us the courage and grace to serve others in imitation of you.
  •  Jesus claimed power over life and death, showed God's power to heal and restore people to full life, showeed God's mercy by releasing people from the burden of sin.  The authorities, troubled with his claims, looked to get rid of him; they didn't recognize him as God's answer to their prayers.  The Father sent him as "covenant to the people" to reconcile them with God.  He fulfilled Isaiah's prophecy by bringing healing, restoration, and forgiveness.  Authorities wanted to kill Jesus because he claimed equality with God; Jesus answered their charge of breaking the Sabbath by demonstrating God's purpose to save and restore life.  God's mercy never ceases; Jesus continues to show it by healing and restoring people, even on the Sabbath.  When leaders charged he was making himself God's equal, he said he wasn't acting independently because they have a Father-Son relationship of unity.  Jesus' identity with the Father is based on trust and obedience, founded on love; their unity is of love and self-giving.  We're called to submit our lives to God with the same love, trust, and obedience....

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