Ask not what our God can do for us...

LENT 2020 – Day 27

Is 65, 17-21; Ps 29, 2.4, 5-6, 11-12a. 13b; Jn 4, 43-54

God is not a politician; He keeps his word. However, we do not keep our word for we have become worse than that breed. What Isaiah prophesied would have become a reality if Israel had responded in earnest. Unfortunately, the Chosen People paid only lip service to God, as politicians do to their voters. For His part, God again and again invited them with love and promise – “not more shall be heard the sound of weeping and the cry of distress”, and He would graciously and mercifully forget their past offences. But they rejected the covenants and even the Son of God when He came down from Heaven.

“Not more shall be heard the sound of weeping and the cry of distress”: wouldn’t that be music to our ears in the present days of the Covid-19 pandemic? Well, nothing is impossible with God. He can create new heavens and a new earth; or at the end of the world, He might even leave the material planet untouched and therein simply place an entirely new race.

Meanwhile, why can’t we be that new race? What are we lacking in? We have the promise of God’s help; we only need to respond favourably. He has given us innumerable signs; we have only to acknowledge them humbly, as did the Galileans, after they saw all that Jesus had done in Jerusalem. In fact, they’d earlier witnessed His first miracle – the changing of water into wine – in Cana of Galilee. And now He healed the son of an official who entreated Him with faith; He did not put up His price, like the politicians do.

The world would be a better place had we accepted Jesus with all our heart. Even impostors enjoy acceptance whereas an authentic prophet has no honour in his own country. Similarly, we are ever-ready to receive blessings from the Lord. When will we begin to give Him of ourselves?

Here's how to move from darkness to light

LENT 2020 - Day 26
Sam 16, 1. 6-7, 10-13; Ps 22, 1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6; Eph 5, 8-14; Jn 9, 1-41

Samuel thought God had meant Jesse’s eldest son Eliab to be the new king of Israel, for he had great physical attributes; God told him that “the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” What a lesson! When Samuel saw David, who had been out keeping the sheep, the Lord’s words “This is he!” were a confirmation that Jesse’s youngest son was meant to shepherd Israel.

King David became the luminous author of that familiar and most loved Psalm 23, among many others. Of course, given his background, it is in pastoral lingo that he expresses his serene conviction that the Lord is his Shepherd. The assurance that the Lord guides and protects us from every danger; that there is nothing we shall want, so nothing to fear, has always brought and will continue to bring solace to many a troubled soul.

Jesus is a descendant of the same David who wrote “If I should walk in the valley of darkness, no evil would I fear.” And there comes St Paul with these eye-opening words: “Once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.” He exhorts us to walk as children of the light – lovers of the good, the right and the true – a veritable priesthood. “I am the light of the world, says the Lord; he who follows me will have the light of life.”(Jn 8,12) That’s a promise.

The Gospel of today is a practical illustration of how Jesus brings us out from the darkness to the light. He doesn’t look at our worldly learning but at our faith and trust in Him. Proof of this is that while the blind man became “enlightened” (so his blindness was not really a punishment for any previous sin, it was indeed a glorious way of manifesting God’s works), the proud Pharisees and others were gradually sinking into greater darkness – they’d refused to believe, or even plainly accept, so were blinded by the bright Light of the World.