Fourth Wednesday of Lent

Readings: Is 49: 8-15 / Ps 145: 8-9, 13-14, 17-18 / Jn 5: 17-30

The Lord is unfailingly gracious, kind, merciful, compassionate, and comforting. Together these readings affirm Gospel values of care for others and assure all of us that through God’s actions, goodness will prevail. All of us who suffer need or displacement can be assured of this. We are not forgotten; God knows our plight.

Today’s Gospel reading teaches us that the Son of God knew that he could not act alone but rather, that he worked in concordance with the Father. Even when Jesus was being hunted, knowing that his life on earth was in danger, he understood that his actions would further the Kingdom of God if and only if he worked with God, and through God, to achieve God’s purposes of care for those in need.  

I think an important consideration as we reflect on these readings is Jesus’s awareness that he was being hunted for violating man-made rules, which he undertook not on behalf of himself, but to serve the needs of others. He was not seeking fame or fortune, but rather, using his God-given authority to discern and respond to others’ needs. Ultimately that is what we can be assured will succeed: caring for others in the name and spirit of an unfailingly compassionate and merciful God. When we act from these motivations, we are reflecting that we are animated by God. Not, as Isaiah reminds us, that any of this will be easy.  On our journey we may be forced to endure desolation, darkness, hunger, thirst, at the very least. However, the passage from Isaiah also offers the promise that when we are able to place our burdens in God’s care, then we can experience not only relief, but joy.

Nancy Sharts-Hopko
College of Nursing