Scripture: 1st Reading: Is49,8-15; Resp. Psalm: Ps145,8-9,13-18; Gosp. Accl.: Jn11,25-26; Gospel: Jn5,17-30
A suffering people will be rescued and redeemed. A people that have known rejection will become the pride of the nations once again. Sorrow and despondency filled the land. The returnees from exile were full of discouragement at the state of things in Jerusalem. But if the people held forth and continued steadfast in the path Yahweh had traced for them by avoiding sin and living for Yahweh alone, their sufferings and sorrows would turn to redemption and joy.
The prophecy in today's first reading was meant to assure the despondent that Yahweh had not and would never abandon His people. Yahweh would answer His people. Yahweh would help them, establish the land for them once again, apportion the desolate heritages, set the prisoners free, bring those in darkness into light.
A new period of prosperity would be experienced. There would be no hunger or thirst in the land. Yahweh would have pity on His people. He would lead them and guide them like a shepherd guiding his flock. Creation would witness and testify to the goodness of Yahweh towards Israel, His people.
If Zion thought it had been abandoned, then it was grossly mistaken. This is because according woman cannot forget her sucking child or refuse compassion to the son of her womb. Even if these forget, Yahweh would never forget His people. Yahweh would give life to His people. He would restore them and give them a new beginning. He would enter into a new special relationship with them.
Our Lord in today's gospel passage demonstrated clearly that this is who Yahweh is to all who abandon their evil ways to return to Him. The Father and Son keep working. The Son does great works because of the love the Father has for the Son and that both have for creation. Whoever hears the word of the Son and believes in them has eternal life.
The life that the Son is giving does not end here in this mortal life. Rather, "the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgement."
This Lenten season, God wants to renew us. He wants to help us, establish us, lead us from the darkness of sin to the light of grace. Let us heed His voice and enter into His peace. Let us allow Him a space in our lives. Let us allow His grace and mercy to bear fruit in our lives. May our Lenten observances not be in vain. May the Lord renew us.
Let us pray: "O God, who reward the merits of the just and offer pardon to sinners who do penance, have mercy, we pray, on those who call upon you, that the admission of our guilt may serve to obtain your pardon for our sins." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.