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Thursday, fourth week of Lent

April 7, 2011

Blessed St. John Baptist de la Salle’s Day!

(His story immediately precedes this post)

Merciful Father, may the penance of our Lenten observance
make us Your obedient people.
May the love within us be seen in what we do
and lead us to the joy of Easter.
Grant 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:
Exodus 32:7-14 (Moses intercedes for the Israelites, who are worshiping the golden calf)
Psalm 106:19-23 “Lord, remember us, for the love You bear Your people”
+John 5:31-47 (prophesy points to Jesus as Messiah)

The one to accuse you is Moses
-John 5:45

That must’ve sent a chill down the backs of Jesus’ audience.
Moses was their mediator!
When they fully deserved the wrath of God, Moses “stood in the gap” and pleaded for them.

Let Your blazing wrath die down; relent in punishing Your people
-Exodus 32:12

When your defender turns on you in accusation, you’re history!

But what else could Moses do?
His whole reason for being was to lead his people out of slavery and into God’s freedom.
He did that physically, yes, but more importantly, he did it spiritually,
pointing forward to the coming of Jesus:

A prophet like me will the Lord raise up for you
from among your own kinsmen;
to him you shall listen
-Deuteronomy 18:15

But God’s people aren’t listening.
Jesus protests:

Search the Scriptures in which you think you have life–
they also testify on My behalf.
Yet you are unwilling to come to Me to posses that life…
If you believed Moses you would then believe Me,
for it was about Me that he wrote
-John 5:39-40, 46

Moses cannot defend them. They won’t let him.

No, they’re no longer tempted by golden calves,
but they’ve set up their own idols, nonetheless.

How can people like you believe, when you accept praise from one another
yet do not seek the glory that comes from the One?
-John 5:44

The praise of men has become their god; social standing, prestige, their idol.
This homespun preacher from backwoods Galilee…

Can anything good come out of Nazareth?
-John 1:46

…fails to impress them.
They’ve gotten so caught up in their own self-importance that God Himself is an afterthought.

God, deliver us from ourselves!

That’s precisely what He’s been trying to do all along!
And notice that He doesn’t save us because we’re good.
The more we try to impress Him, the worse it goes

You are like white-washed tombs, beautiful to look at on the outside,
but inside full of filth and dead men’s bones
-Matthew 23:27

When Moses pleaded for the people,
he didn’t try to minimize their crime or hold up their virtues.
Rather, what Moses held up before God was God’s own goodness.
God, I can’t ask You to save us because we’re good. We’re not.
I dare to ask You to save us because You’re good!

Remember Your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel,
and how You swore to them by Your own self, saying,
‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky;
and all this land that I promised I will give your descendants
as their perpetual heritage’ -Exodus 32:13

Therein lies our hope.

The God of infinite goodness is calling us to what we do not, cannot, deserve,
and He’s doing it simply because He is so good.
The only way to lose is to refuse.

May we find our salvation in God’s goodness.

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