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Wednesday, fourth week of Lent

March 5, 2008

Blessed Wednesday!

Lord, You reward virtue and forgive the repentant sinner.
Grant us your forgiveness as we come before You confessing our guilt.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Opening Prayer for today’s Mass)

Readings:
Isaiah 49:8-15 (God will provide for His people)
Psalm 145:8-18 “The Lord is kind and merciful”
+John 5:17-30 (Jesus only does His Father’s will)

“The Lord has forsaken me!”

“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 49:14-15).

“I am certain that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor principalities,
neither the present nor the future, nor powers,
neither height nor depth nor any other creature
will be able to separate us from the love of God
that comes to us in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

The only thing that can separate us from God, that can cut us off from His Love and salvation is our rejection of Him–specifically, our rejection of Jesus. “The Father judges no one, but has assigned all judgment to the Son so that all men may honor the Son just as they honor the Father” (John 5:22).

This judgment is simply God’s acknowledgment of our choice. Have we chosen to reject Jesus or to surrender to Him? “I solemnly assure you, the man who hears My word and has faith in Him Who sent Me possesses eternal life. He does not come under condemnation, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24). “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). And “if God is for us, who can be against us?!” (Romans 8:31)

That’s good news! The even better news is that if we’ve made the wrong choice, bringing ourselves under condemnation (“whoever does not believe is already condemned for not believing in the Name of God’s only Son” -John 3:18), it’s not too late to change that choice. “While there is life, there is hope” (Ecclesiastes 9:4).

This change of heart is the new life, the spiritual resurrection, to which God calls us, “saying to prisoners: Come out! To those in darkness: Show yourselves!” (Isaiah 49:9). Sin, separation from God, imprisons us in darkness. He calls us to the freedom of repentance, to the freedom of a living faith in Jesus that keeps His commandments.

He makes the way easy for us. “Along the ways they shall find pasture…they shall not hunger or thirst, nor shall the scorching wind or the sun strike them; for He Who pities them leads them and guides them beside springs of water. I will cut a road through all My mountains, and make My highways level” (Isaiah 49:9-11).

Even when God allows our holy freedom to be tested, “He will not allow you to be tested beyond your strength. Along with the test He will give you a way out of it that you may be able to endure it” (Romans 10:13).

God is on our side.

His “judgment” is His plea for us to accept His mercy, His salvation, Who comes to us in Christ Jesus our Lord. He has paid the price. He has cleared the way for us. May we answer the call, walk the road He has smoothed for us, and rejoice in His salvation.

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