Friday, April 7, 2023
by Fr. David M. Knight
View readings for today:
Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12; Psalm 31; Hebrews 4:14 to 5:9; John 18:1 to 19:42
The RESPONSORIAL PSALM encourages us to entrust our lives totally to God: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” (PSALM 31).
Isaiah 52:13 to 53:12 is a song of victory that reveals the strategy of God. Jesus saves, not by using divine force against his enemies, but by surrendering himself into their hands in apparent weakness — a weakness that is stronger than any force: the invincible weakness of “enduring love.”
We saw on the first Sunday of Lent that there is only one ultimate cause of all the pain and suffering in the world: sin. Sin is the choice not to trust God and follow his instructions, but to do what we ourselves think will make us happy. In reversal of this Jesus redeemed the world by an act of supreme faith in which he abandoned himself to God with absolute trust, even though it seemed he was delivering himself to total destruction. “We accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.” But his trusting obedience saved the world: “Because he surrendered himself to death… he shall take away the sins of many, and win pardon for their offenses.” His final words are the response that will bring our faith, hope and love to perfection when we are called to surrender ourselves totally and irrevocably to God in death: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
Hebrews 4:14 to 5:9 focuses on obedience as the key that won and admits us to redemption: Jesus “learned obedience” —experienced total and perfect obedience — “through what he suffered.” By bringing his obedience to perfection through the total surrender of himself on the cross, “he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” Our first parents’ disobedience brought death into the world. The obedience of Jesus restored life. These examples summon us to obey him, growing to perfect obedience (perfect love) as his disciples.
John 18:1 to 19:42 shows us Jesus obeying the will of the Father from his first step along the way of the cross: “Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him, went out….” And when he died, he was able to say, “It is finished; I have finished the work you gave me to do” (SEE JOHN 17:4). Through his obedience he saved us all — and did so at the very moment when his enemies, speaking for all who would reject him, rejected all obedience to the Father in favor of enslavement to the power of this world: “We have no king but Caesar!” There is the choice: disobedience, sin and death, or obedience, grace and life. Discipleship is the choice to grow into the fullness of obedient love, “life to the full.” “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
Initiative: Be a disciple. Seek perfect obedience by learning God’s whole heart, mind and will.
Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry