MONDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF LENT

March 23, 2020

Isaiah 65:17-21

 

Thus says the LORD:

I am about to create new heavens
    and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
    or come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever
    in what I am creating;
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,
    and its people as a delight.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
    and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,
    or the cry of distress.
No more shall there be in it
    an infant that lives but a few days,
    or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;
for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,
    and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.
They shall build houses and inhabit them;
    they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

 

 

 

Psalm 30:1-5, 11-13

 

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up,
    and did not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
    and you have healed me.
O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol,
    restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones,
    and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment;
    his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me!
    O Lord, be my helper!”

You have turned my mourning into dancing;
    you have taken off my sackcloth
    and clothed me with joy,
so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
    O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

 

 

John 4:43-54

 

When the two days were over, he went from that place to Galilee (for Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in the prophet’s own country). When he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the festival; for they too had gone to the festival.

Then he came again to Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my little boy dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way. As he was going down, his slaves met him and told him that his child was alive. So he asked them the hour when he began to recover, and they said to him, “Yesterday at one in the afternoon the fever left him.” The father realized that this was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he himself believed, along with his whole household. Now this was the second sign that Jesus did after coming from Judea to Galilee.

 (NRSVCE)

Meditation

 

If you have been on social media, you have probably seen that complete strangers can have no compunction about attacking someone who disagrees with their opinion. Whether they know a thing about a person’s experience or training, they will assume that they have the right to level challenges and hurl insults. It is appalling to read some of the insinuations based on wrong assumptions people make about each other. We can wonder what would happen if one of these prideful people learned that they were attacking their boss’s wife, their child’s teacher, their parent’s health care worker, a business client or perhaps a saint. It is a sad state when people feel more satisfied lashing out at others and putting people down than sharing truth, understanding and kindness.

 

This is nothing new. A prophet has no honor in his own country and that included our Lord. When we think of how people lacked faith in Jesus’ day and rejected him even though he performed miracles, we are galled. Unless there was a desperate need, like the man in the gospel whose son was dying, they had no desire to believe in him. Not unlike the social media anonymity of today, that is really not very anonymous, people then also loved to argue, cling to their political leanings and religious views and throw stones at others.

 

In today’s crisis, everyone has an opinion. Some are fearful, some are skeptical, some are looking to government for help, some are looking to God and it is all based on what they believe. As Christians, what should we believe? If we read the scriptures today, we are comforted thinking that Jesus wants us to ask for and believe Him for healing.

 

The power of our words, whether we speak words of life and hope, or words of gloom and doom, affect the people around us. The father of a dying son believed Jesus and his son was healed.

 

How great is the hope that God will change our world and take away our sickness and bring us joy and delight! We all want to hear those lines, “Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning,” or, “No more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress…” when we consider the new earth. But this is our reality and the plan that God has for us. No matter what happens to us in this life, no matter what trial or pain, God has a plan for us for new life.

 

Today, we can remember that Jesus often speaks to us through other people. Practice positive speech and listen with respect to those who want to build up rather than tear down.

 

 

 

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