Friday, March 23, 2018

Reflection for Friday, March 23, 2018

Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent

JN 10:31-42

“In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice”

Surrounded. In each of the readings today we have figures that are surrounded. Jeremiah can hear the “whispers of many” waiting for “any misstep.” Waiting for the opportunity when he will be moved, so they can take “vengeance on him.” Destroying floods and the snares of death surround the psalmist. Everywhere the psalmist looks, death and destruction lurks. Jesus stands cornered by a group of angry Jews, preparing to stone him.

Jesus asks, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?” For each of these characters the good works of the Lord have pushed them into a corner. Escape seems unlikely. What do they do?
“In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.”

As the powers of death surround, they call upon the Lord and he hears them. The Lord hears us. This is something we can take into our everyday life. As we prepare to enter Holy Week remember, “The Lord is with us.” We can keep experiencing the tragedy of the passion, but remember that the Lord, “like a mighty champion” will come again.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Reflection for Thursday, March 22, 2018

Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent

JN 8:51-59

The thing about promises is that they are easy to make and hard to keep.
“I promise to call home twice a week,” “I promise to write this paper two weeks before it is due.” “I promise to spend more time with a friend I have not seen in a while.” We make these promises both to others and to ourselves. Yet, often, we find these promises a burden to keep and they slip to the wayside.

In today’s first reading, God promises Abram a collection of earthly substances-a changed name to Abraham, fertility, the land of Canaan, and countless descendants. In turn, God asks that Abraham make a promise to follow God, worshiping him and keeping faith and trust in God’s love.  
Jesus expands on this promise, offering much more than earthly pleasures. In the Gospel today, Jesus exclaims, “Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.” More than land and fertility, Jesus is offering us a promise of eternal life- a salvation with Him. We trust that Jesus will keep this promise. Have we any doubts, just look to the cross. Jesus kept his promise until the horrific end.

When we begin Lent, we make promises both to God and to ourselves. We promise to fast, pray, and almsgive. We promise a sacrifice, whether that be candy or social media or swearing. We may also promise a commitment, such as eating healthy, exercising daily, doing homework ahead of schedule.

With Easter approaching in a little over a week, we may have forgotten some of these initial promises we made. However, it is not too late to renew them. We know that soon Jesus will sacrifice His life in order to fulfill His promise to us. Let us continue to reflect on the sacrifices we make to keep our own promises and pray that God will give us the strength to make and keep our promises.