Daily Reflection
March 9th, 2005

Andy Alexander, S.J.

University Ministry and the Collaborative Ministry Office
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Isaiah 49:8-15
Psalm 145:8-9, 13cd-14, 17-18
John 5:17-30

Thus says the LORD:
In a time of favor I answer you,
on the day of salvation I help you; ...
For the LORD comforts his people
and shows mercy to his afflicted. ...
Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you.
Isaiah 49

The comforting words of the prophet Isaiah come at a wonderful time in our Lenten journey. We've been reflecting upon the patterns in our lives and we have come to see that we need mercy and healing. By this time in our experience of Lent, we may have already sensed that it is really difficult to remake ourselves on our own. The habits we have, the ways we tend to react and respond to our family members and people we work with, seem so deeply seated in us. If we're working on change, and asking for the graces we need to change, we are realizing that we seem to resist the change fairly strongly.

The invitation today is to trust that the Lord will answer us and help us. So, we need to ask again today for the graces we desire. If our desires includes the prayer to know God's love and mercy for us, then God will show us the merciful love of Jesus.

In the Fourth Gospel we begin to get the feeling of the controversy gathering around Jesus. Not only did he heal that royal official's sick child on the sabboth - thus challenging the strict approach of the religious authorities - but he begins to explain his power to heal by identifying himself with God, by referring to God as his own Father. Jesus has come to bring good news to the poor, to those who struggle, for those who can't seem to "get it right." He comes to bring us God's comfort and love. And for this, we will see a relentlentless move to kill him. It is all part of God's plan. Jesus' death will be "for us."

Our struggle is not like that of the religious leaders of Jesus' day. We're not upset that he heals on the sabboth. At some place in our hearts, we all believe Jesus is our Lord and Savior. We believe that when we meet Jesus, we encounter God. Our struggle is that we seem so self-sufficient and busy - so defended and self-protective - that we just don't let Jesus into our hearts. Or, we let him in a little bit, but then there is that last bit of resistence that we are experiencing in Lent.

Let's turn to the Lord today, with renewed desire. Trusting his fidelity and love and mercy, let's ask for a growing freedom and surrender. Let's ask to know and understand the ways we are still "stuck" in un-loving, un-generous, self-centered habits. And let us ask for forgiveness and healing.

The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R The Lord is gracious and merciful.
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