Headline: The Word of God at Lent

Posted on: 2017-04-05

God is the Ultimate Teacher

I strongly believe that the word of God, read even a thousand times, has power to teach a thousand different lessons. And it is always effective. Through the Prophet Isaiah God declared: “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return till they have watered the earth, making it yield seed for the sower  and food for others to eat, so is my word that goes forth out of my mouth . It will not return to me idle, but it shall accomplish my will, the purpose for which it has been sent” (Is. 55:10-11). The soothing sequence of the readings of the last Sundays of Lent Year A cycle show how appropriate for our human situation God’s word can always turn out to be. The graduation of Jesus’ teaching at this period and its implication for our current situation is simply astounding.

Who do People Say That I Am?

The Gospel of John takes us on a journey to encounter Jesus Christ revealing himself in different ways. At the end of his dramatic encounter with the woman at the well, Jesus manifested himself as the source of living water. He said to the woman: “…those who drink of the water that I shall give, will never be thirsty; for the water that I shall give will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (Jn. 4:14). The following Sunday, in healing the man born blind, Jesus presented himself as the light of the world. “While it is day we must do the work of the one who sent me; for the night will come when no one can work. As long as I am in the world I am the light of the world” (Jn. 9: 4-5). The fifth Sunday of Lent took us through the raising of Lazarus. In the dialogue with Martha and Mary Jesus called himself the resurrection and the life. “I am the resurrection. Whoever believes in me, though he die, he shall live. Whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (Jn. 11: 25-26). 

He who changes bad to good

Jesus is the one who transforms us. One could easily analyze this interesting progression here. In the woman at the well Jesus restored a pagan soul to faith. The pagan woman, by the time Jesus was done with her, had become an evangelist. She completely abandoned the bucket that was her security from start and went off to call others to come and see the Messiah. Such transformation! Through the blind man Jesus cured our physical ailment for he indeed has power over everything. The curing of the blind man however also impacted on his soul. He became, in no time, a man who could not only fend for himself but also who could speak for himself and could even dare to ask the Pharisees to believe in Jesus. In the story about Lazarus, Jesus demonstrated his ultimate power over death by bringing a dead man back to life in spite of the incredulousness of even his close friends, Mary and Martha.

As Holy Week Draws Near

As Holy Week draws near we are touched even more closely by God’s concern for our day to day needs and condition. The readings of Monday, the fifth week of Lent tell even more fascinating stories about God and Jesus’ closeness to the oppressed and marginalized as is visible even in affects modern society. The rescue of poor Susana from the wicked elders of Israel in the book of Daniel’s is always a spectacular account of how it is never too late for God to save those who trust in him (Dan. 13:1-62). Granted, Susana was a righteous daughter of Israel. What can we say then about the adulterous woman who clearly was guilty, did not protest her guilt, was only about to be punished as the law of her land prescribed and was still saved by Jesus? (Jn. 8: 3-11)  It is a guarantee that God in his good time will intervene on behalf of his people and if necessary in the most unexpected way like the little Daniel turned out to be. It is surely a step higher than the episode with Susana, demonstrating even more that the love of the Lord endures forever (Ps 136). The fact not to be missed is that Jesus admonished the woman however to “go and sin no more”. Not even the loving kindness of God should be an excuse for anyone to dwell in sin. “He never commanded anyone to be godless, he has given no one permission to sin” (Sirach. 15:20).

Welcome to Palm Sunday

That King, Jesus,  wonderful and dependable in all shades and facets, is the one we all celebrate on Palm Sunday as he enters Jerusalem, triumphant, but only in order to begin the epic journey to Calvary and our salvation. He has shown that he is a king who never abandons his own friend. Let us take this as our opportunity to stand by him on the journey of his passion and crucifixion. “We adore you O Christ and we praise you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world”.