Monday, Fourth Week of Lent

March 27, 2017 


Is 65: 17-21/ Ps 30: 2 and 4. 5-6. 11-12a and 13b/ Jn 4: 43-54. 

By *Mr. Lotanna Obiezu, SJ

 

My little cousin Munachi once suffered from a life-threatening respiratory infection when she was about six months old. On one occasion when she was rushed to the hospital, as we arrived at the hospital, my aunt jumped out of the vehicle and carrying my sick cousin, dashed to the doctor’s office. Not minding the usual protocol nor the long queue of patients waiting to see the doctor, she cried to the doctor: ‘please help me, my child is dying’.  A sick child can be a source of great anxiety and anguish to parents.

The official in the Gospel searched desperately for a cure for his dying son. The news of Jesus’ presence must have brought great relief to his anguish and anxiety. Moved by faith he searched for Jesus and when he found him he expressed his faith in Jesus’ ability to heal his son. Jesus saw his faith and healed his son.

In the first reading, Prophet Isaiah announces a new beginning, a beginning completely devoid of past memories. He tries to restore hope to the people of Israel who are beginning to lose faith in God’s promise following their return from the Babylonian exile. The Israelites expected an immediate fulfilment of God’s promises and years after their return, their hope was beginning to wane. According to Isaiah, in the new Jerusalem which God promises, there shall be no sound of weeping or the cry of distress. Untimely death shall be a thing of the past and everyone will live to reap the fruit of their labour. Is this not the sort of news which should excite us as Christians and fill us with joyful anticipation? And, is this not the new dawn which we eagerly await as we continue our Lenten journey?

Lent is a period when we are invited to wait patiently for the fulfilment of God’s promises concerning those aspects of our lives that cause us anguish. It could be our struggle with sin, our inability to forgive or even the need for physical healing for ourselves or loved ones.  Waiting for the fulfilment of God’s promises can be quite challenging and our faith can be severely tested. Sometimes we may be tempted to think like the Israelites that there is no hope. Or we may search desperately like the official for a solution. It may even be more depressing when we realise that neither our resources nor those around us can help us out of our predicaments. 

It is in such periods of waiting and anticipation that the Lord invites us to recognise his presence in the dark situations of our life and see his willingness to help us. Through his sufferings and death, he shares in our human experiences. He is aware of our condition and feels with us and we do not have to despair but to wait patiently for him. He expects us to be steadfast in faith and to express that faith by our words and actions.

As we journey with Jesus through this Lenten season, we look forward with hope to his glorious resurrection at Easter when we will experience the new life given to us by Christ through his death and resurrection. While we wait for this new beginning, we unite our daily struggles, sufferings and pain with those of Jesus. We seek daily to relieve others of their own burden by our acts of love and mercy.

We ask the Lord to give us the courage to come to him daily.

 

*Mr. Lotanna Obiezu, SJ, is a scholastic in first studies at Arrupe College, Jesuit School of Philosophy and Humanities in Harare, Zimbabwe. 

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