April 4, 2023
by Barbara Dilly
Creighton University - Retired
click here for photo and information about the writer

Tuesday of Holy Week
Lectionary: 258

Isaiah 49:1-6
Psalm 71:1-2, 3-4a, 5ab-6ab, 15 and 17
John 13:21-33, 36-38

Praying Lent


Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Winter is over, but for many of us who are now older, much of our lives have seemed like a long winter of endless toil with little reward.  Yet, we must admit that most of us also experienced times of glory. That is why the words of Isaiah for today have special meaning to me.  “Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, yet my reward is with the Lord, my recompense is with my God…..I am made glorious in the sight of the Lord, and my God is now my strength!”  These words become sweeter to me as I grow older. There were many times in my life when I was pretty worn down by the struggles of life, and yet, in my retirement, I am not as exhausted as I thought I would be.  At least not in spirit. I can still live my life in praise to God because God is the source of my strength. 

I do admit that I do tire more easily as I grow older.  Yet, I know that if I continue to take refuge in the Lord, I do not toil in vain with my community organizing volunteer work.  Psalm 71 is another one that speaks more clearly to me these days.  Over my lifetime, I learned to sing of the salvation of the Lord because the Lord’s justice always rescued and delivered me, sometimes just in the nick of time, because the Lord was always there as a refuge, a rock, a fortress, and a stronghold against the hands of my enemies.  But that was something I did not always see clearly.  I too often relied on my own strength, which was usually inadequate.  Without learning to trust in the Lord, I would have had no hope, and my strength would have been so easily spent.  Now, in my older years, because I can see that God was always there to give me strength, I can proclaim the wondrous deeds of God and declare God’s justice with much greater confidence.  I am very grateful God gave me the time to figure that out. 

So, as I reflect on the words of Jesus in the Gospel reading, I can appreciate even more that Jesus is showing us how to trust in the strength of God even as we approach death, no matter what our age.  Jesus knew that he would be betrayed and that he would be crucified.  But he did not see his life as useless nor his work in vain because he had to suffer and die at such a young age.  Jesus trusted in God to give him the strength to live out his life as he was called to do.  And Jesus asks me, as he did Peter, whether I can do the same.  As I get older, I am more confident that I can do that because I can trust in God’s strength to help me be a light that shows the Lord’s salvation to others. I pray today for continued hope, trust and strength for me and all who take refuge in the Lord. 

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