Wednesday of the 4th Week of Lent

John 5:17-30

The Work of the Son

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

The tremendous impact of what Jesus said to the Jews must have been mind boggling and an unforgivable sin of blasphemy to which punishment by death is the just remedy. Jesus claimed this truth on the basis that:

1.    He sees Himself as closely identified with God. If we want to know how God thinks, feels and sees, and how God reacts in history then we have to look at Jesus.

2.    His identity is not on equality but on His complete obedience to the will of the Father, so much so that we see the Father in Jesus. If we like to be like Jesus then complete surrender and obedience is necessary.

3.    The obedience is not submission based on power but on love. This makes one heart and one mind possible. The relationship is perfect between Father and the Son. If only we could establish that love with Christ, then we can claim perfect identity with Jesus. (Fr. Jojo Cabales, SVD Bible Diary 2002)

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When an ordinary citizen drives through the streets of Manila, we could almost hear his secret thoughts:

“Everyday I see you begging in the streets as I drive my air-conditioned car. You tap on my window, with your grimy hands and face, but I look the other way, as I i didn’t see you.

“Every night i see you sleeping on street corners or under the bridge with only makeshift boards and newspapers as your pillow blanket. But I look the other way as if I didn’t see you.

“I see you in the early morning going through my piles of garbage. You look for my leftover food and other things that I have thrown away. Strange that you want the things that are no longer of any use to me. But I look the other way, as if I don’t see you.

“On my way to Church with my family, I see your dilapidated houses, your dirty esteros and your naked children. But still I look the other way, as if I don’t see you.”

The war we wage is that of massive poverty. It has two faces, material poverty and spiritual poverty. While the government continues to pursue criminal elements with a strong hand as it addresses the material poverty of our people, we in the Church and her educative agencies address the spiritual poverty of our people. Together, we have to work hand in hand in freeing a majority of our people from the tomb of destitution, from death to resurrection. Our Lord in today’s gospel says that indeed ‘the hour is coming in which all who are in the tomb…will come out.” We can participate in bringing that ‘hour’ to them. The Lord assures that ‘those who have done good deeds’ will also experience the ‘resurrection of life.’ (Fr. Joel Maribao, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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Among the Mandaya in Davao Oriental, there is a strong belief that God speaks to His people through nature. When someone, for example, upon leaving for an appointment, hears the sound of a wet pigeon, it is believed that God is giving that person a warning, a sign not to proceed.

Our sacraments are also signs of God’s love. Through them God shares with us His life and happiness. Isaiah describes God’s overpowering love for those who are marginalized, the poor refugees. This is echoed in the famous Filipino song, Hindi KitaMalilimutan. It is very consoling to know that God will never forget us, just as a mother will never forget her child.

How can we show our gratitude to the Father and repay His love during this time of Lent? Christ sets an example for us to imitate. He showed His love and respect to the Father by listening and talking to Him. Together with fasting and almsgiving, prayer is one of the religious exercises we ought to intensify during Lenten time. Just as strengthened Christ to face His accusers, prayers helps us to do God’s will, face the world’s challenges with courage and witness to the world by good deeds, until we too become living signs of God’s presence to others. (Fr. Carlos Lariosa, SVD Bible Diary 2005)

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The gospel of Jesus speaks of life that comes from hearing His word and believing. The life that Jesus promises is a meaningful one in the midst of difficulties, sickness and even death.

Man does not live by bread alone. Man and woman were created for a purpose that is deeper than well-being. The purpose is found in the spoken word of God. Clinging to God’s word in the midst of difficulties, sickness and even death means life. Living for this worldly life alone inevitably leads to death. For man is a being towards death, as one philosopher claimed. On the contrary, living this life under the light of eternity is something else. Eternity and life is found in God alone. “…On hearing the voice of the Son of God, the dead will live,” (gospel).

Moreover, to live day by day in the presence of God has a comforter for a companion and a consoler during afflictions (1st reading). (Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD Bible Diary 2006)

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Little Ralph Erwin would catch fever at certain times which truly upsets his Mom. His mother could not pinpoint the cause, neither could his paediatrician. Worried Mom would always call her husband who works at a nearby town, a province, or wherever the call of duty was. When the little boy’s Dad arrives, the fever is gone. Everything goes well again when father and son get together.

In the gospel reading Jesus spoke of the Father as Someone so close to Him, a relationship which gave Him authority to speak the truth and do wonders. His closeness to the Father made Him fearless in proclaiming the truth even if it meant giving up His life.

A loving giant! That is what Jesus is. He gives life to those whom He wills, just as the Father does. Jesus heals and forgives without condition just as what He sees the Father does. Jesus loves, embraces us with tenderness and promises fidelity, just as the Father holds each of us gently with His loving hands.

To experience this heart to heart connection that gives healing and life, Jesus wants us to hear and believe His words. Getting connected with Jesus is getting connected to the Loving Father who is Life Himself. One reason why God will never forget us. (Bible Diary 2007)

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Wednesday of the 4th Week of Lent

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