Daily Reflection
March 11th, 2002
Kathy Kanavy
Institute for Priestly Formation
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Isaiah 65:17-21
Psalm 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-13
John 4:43-54

Today’s readings are brimming with images of life, joy, praise and healing.  Perhaps they are even surprising to our ears in this season of Lent.  Listen to some of the images:

“…there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create;
 …I create Jerusalem to be joy and its people to be a delight…” (Isaiah 65:18)
“No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there….
 …no longer shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not round out his full lifetime.” (Isaiah 65:19-20)

“You changed my mourning into dancing; O Lord, my God, forever will I give you thanks.”  (Psalm 30:12a, 13b)

“’Sir, come down before my child dies.’  Jesus said to him, ‘You may go; your son will live.’  …The fever left him…just at that time Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” (John 4:49-53)

How strongly these readings convey the heart of God, the God of life not death.  What speaks so clearly is the depth of God’s desire to save us, to draw us into life and fullness.  Do you ever wonder if this is really true?  With all the misery and suffering in your own life and in the life of the world, do you ever wonder if God is really paying attention?  Have you ever asked Him what He’s doing and if He really understands what’s going on?  I think we often fail to let ourselves ask God these honest questions but rather sit on pain and resign ourselves to the fact that this is the way it’s going to be.  So we cope.  And we manage pain.  And we get through relying on our own strength.

But listen to the strength of today’s Scripture.  Who is our God?  He is the One who longs for life and weeps profoundly at the death of innocent life.  He is the One who humbled Himself beyond what we can really grasp to save us and bring us back into the tender, care of His heart.  He is the One who heals, who has mercy, and whose heart breaks at the sorrows of our lives.

Listen to this beautiful passage in the book of Hosea:

“When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son.
The more I called them, the farther they went from me…
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took them in my arms;
I drew them with human cords, with bands of love;
I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks;
Yet, though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer.” (Hosea 11:1-4)
We often miss the real God of life and healing.  We choose “alien gods” of staying in pain, of holding onto hurts and ways we have been mistreated; of unforgiveness; of resignation; and of figuring I just have to do this myself.  In this season of Lent, you and I are asked to let go of our alien gods to say yes to the God of Life…right in the middle of the sufferings and pains you and I carry.  I invite you and myself to tell God honestly today about the pains in your heart.  Relate to Him the loss, sorrows, grief, disappointments, and suffering that you carry.  If you really wonder, ask Him what He’s doing and if He really understands.  Then wait.  Listen.  What does He say to you?  How is He towards you as you relate these pains?  

We often expect Him to be very distant, silent and unknowing.  But the truth is seen in the image of God stooping to feed us, particularly in the places in our hearts where it hurts most.  

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