Sunday, March 6, 2016

Reflections for the 4th Week of Lent, Part 1

Monday – “O Lord, Be My Helper”

O Lord, be my Helper! Lord, my faith is so small; make it grow.

O Lord, be my Helper! Lord, my hope is so weak; help me find confidence in You and in Your promises.

O Lord, be my Helper! Lord, my love is so feeble; pour more into my heart that I may pour it out to others.

O Lord, be my Helper! Lord, my trust is so frail; let me see that You have a plan for me and for my loved ones no matter what happens.

O Lord, be my Helper! Lord, I'm frightened of the future; be my refuge and my strength.

O Lord, be my Helper! Now and forever.


Tuesday – A Healing and a Betrayal?

In today's Gospel, we watch as Jesus heals a man who had been sick for over thirty years. This man had long hoped to be cured by immersing himself in miraculous pool of Bethesda, but he missed his chance every single time because he just couldn't move fast enough. 

Jesus didn't even bother to answer the man's veiled complaint. Instead He said, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.” The man obeyed immediately, healed in an instant, and Jesus slipped away into the crowd.

When the Jews saw the now-healthy man carrying his mat, they promptly chastised him, for it was the sabbath. The man defended himself by saying that the Man Who had healed him had told him to carry his mat, but he couldn't tell them just Who that Man was. 

A while later Jesus approached the man again, this time with a warning: “Look, you are well; do not sin any more, so that nothing worse may happen to you.” But rather than heed this warning or even thank Jesus for healing him, the man hurried straight to the Jews and told them that Jesus was the One Who had cured him. The Jews were only too happy to persecute Jesus for healing on the sabbath.

Why did this man who had received such a wonderful gift turn to the Jews? Did he honestly want to share his good news? Did he think he could win their favor? Was he just trying to be helpful? Did he think he could explain that it was okay for Jesus to heal on the sabbath? Did he mean to betray Jesus to the Jews? Did he just not understand their animosity? 

The man's actions should make us think about our own responses to God's gifts. Do we appreciate them as we should, or do we seek something more? Do we truly recognize these treasures as signs of God's love, or do we betray Jesus by being indifferent to His graces? Do we embrace our Lord, or do we turn elsewhere for favor and support? 

Wednesday - “I Will Never Forget You”

God makes a wonderful promise in today's first reading: “I will never forget you.” 

And He means it. God remembers us every single minute. He holds us in existence and in His thoughts. He sees all. He knows all. He cares about everything, even the most minute, unimportant parts of our lives. He never leaves us alone. He loves us without the slightest waver, constantly, perfectly. Even when He seems far away, the distance is on our end, not His. He is closer to us than we are to ourselves. He waits for us to turn to Him that we might feel His tender embrace. 

“I will never forget you.” Always remember that.

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