Monday (Week IV of Lent)
March 20, 2023
by Fr. David M. Knight
View readings for today:
Isaiah 65:17-21; Psalm 30; John 4:43-54
The RESPONSORIAL PSALM is an acceptance of God’s way of saving the world: “I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me” (PSALM 30).
Not everyone praises God for the kind of rescue he offers in Jesus. Those in Jesus’ own time who wanted a Messiah who would deliver them from Roman oppression did not welcome him. They wanted a Messiah who would fill their country with prosperity, peace and justice by stamping out evil — with force, if necessary, human or divine.
When they realized that Jesus was not that kind of Savior they shouted, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!” (JOHN 19:15).
In our day many people think that if they observe God’s laws and pray, God will keep their loved ones safe and give them a pain-free life on earth. When tragedy strikes them, they turn away from God in anger and disillusionment. Jesus is not their kind of Savior.
Isaiah 65 : 17 - 21 seems to encourage this assumption about the way God rescues and blesses us. God promises about Jerusalem, “No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there… [there will not] be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not round out his full lifetime…. They shall live in the houses they build, and eat the fruit of the vineyards they plant.” But this is not what Jesus came to bring about. To accept Jesus as Savior we have to accept a whole new guidance system, a whole new way of judging what is good or bad for us, what is a blessing and what is a curse.
In John 4: 43-54 we see Jesus healing a royal official’s son — but not before he changes his guidance system. The official’s faith in Jesus depended on his working miracles. Jesus reproached him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe!” But when Jesus told him, “You may go; your son will live,” the man “ believed what Jesus said to him and left.” He trusted, not in what he saw, but in the words of Jesus alone. This was his acceptance of a new guidance system.
To really understand and accept Jesus as Savior, we have to become his disciples. This means, not just accepting what he says, but making our acceptance depend on pure faith. We have to accept ahead of time that everything he says is true and everything he does is good — even if he lets us or others die. If we accept this with blind faith we will come to see. Then, no matter what happens we will respond, “I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.”
Initiative: Be a disciple. Make faith your standard for judging what is true or false, bad or good. Let Jesus’ words, not your assumptions, be your guidance system.
Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry