Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent, March 22, 2023

When Jesus is questioned and blamed for curing a paralyzed man on a Sabbath, Jesus responded to them that how he is like the Father. Yes, after the work of creation, God rested on the seventh day. But the work of redemption is going on, the Father and Jesus are always at work, even on a Sabbath. Both continue the work of liberation, comforting and loving, bringing abundant nourishment to the chosen people, raising up the lame and the dead, all expressions of the work of salvation. God passionately declares that he is with us, that he cannot forget us, that he wants us to live in his love, that he is faithful to his covenant, even if his chosen people are not. Jesus is the sign of God’s love. He is the source of life now among us. With Jesus, we have to seek the Father’s will.

Opening Prayer
Our God and Father,
you keep seeking us out
with love as passionate as a mother’s love,
even when we have abandoned you.
Give us hope and courage,
especially when we feel uncertain.
Reassure us that you want us to live
in the security of your love
and that you stay with us
through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen!

1 Reading: ISAIAH 49:8-15
Thus says the LORD: In a time of favour I answer you, on the day of salvation I help you; and I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people, To restore the land and allot the desolate heritages, Saying to the prisoners: Come out! To those in darkness: Show yourselves! Along the ways they shall find pasture, on every bare height shall their pastures be. 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. See, some shall come from afar, others from the north and the west, and some from the land of Syene. Sing out, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth, break forth into song, you mountains. For the LORD comforts his people and shows mercy to his afflicted. But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten 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.

1 Responsorial PSALM 145:8-9, 13cd-14, 17-18
R. (8a) The Lord is gracious and merciful.

The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works. R.

The LORD is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down. R.

The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth. R.

Verse Before the Gospel: JOHN 11:25a, 26
Glory and praise to you, oh Christ!
I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord;
whoever believes in me will never die.
Glory and praise to you, oh Christ!

Gospel: JOHN 5:17-30
Jesus answered the Jews: “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God. Jesus answered and said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for what he does, the Son will do also. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything that he himself does, and he will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes. Nor does the Father judge anyone, but he has given all judgment to the Son, so that all may honour the Son just as they honour the Father. Whoever does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent him. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life. Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, so also he gave to the Son the possession of life in himself. And he gave him power to exercise judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out, those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation. “I cannot do anything on my own; I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me.”

For the greater glory of God
Today’s Gospel follows immediately on yesterday’s story of the healing of the disabled man by the pool. That passage ended with the words: “The Jews began to persecute Jesus because he did the healing on a sabbath.” As with some other sabbath healings, we might point out that there was absolutely no urgency to do the healing on a sabbath for someone who had waited 38 years. It is just another indication of the divine authority with which Jesus works. So Jesus’ reply is direct and unapologetic: “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.”
John wants to clarify to his community the Mission of Jesus in their lives – that is, Jesus alone can restore the health of the ailing Israel. It is not just through one’s adherence to the Jewish law and traditions but through the stirring waters of baptism that we are healed and given new life.
Jesus tells us in this Gospel that he does not do anything alone. He always keeps his Father as the point of reference for all that he does. Christ’s life is not self-referential but reflects the desires of the Father. Just as a son looks to his dad to learn how to live, asking “why” and “how,” Christ looked to his Father before acting. We are called to imitate Jesus’ submissiveness and love of the Father by living for Christ above all things. “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).
We live in a world where being popular is the catchword. We are encouraged to put ourselves ahead, make a name for ourselves, and get noticed—even to the point of becoming someone we’re not. The act of healing on a Sabbath day makes Jesus noticed, and his popularity is skyrocketing. And that disturbs the Jewish authorities. Perhaps they are not so much offended at the act of healing itself, but they are furious for the popularity he has gained. All that Christ does is to honour his Father. Even his final sacrifice on the Cross was for us, yes, but also to give glory to his Father. Does our popularity bring glory to God or are we glorifying ourselves?
Let us resolve that, by the grace of God we will take some time today to spend with the Father, asking for the grace to do our tasks for His glory.

– For those who dare not accept that God keeps loving them as deeply as an affectionate father or mother, we pray:
– For people living under oppression, that they may have the will, the courage and the means to become free again, we pray:
– For those who are poor and suffering and cry out for joy and a bit of happiness, that the Lord may hear their prayer, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
Our God and Father,
we bring this bread and this wine before you
as the signs that we share
in the offering of Jesus, your Son.
May he give us the strength
to accept our mission in life.
As he was loyal to your will,
may our wills too,
be in complete harmony with yours,
that we may live in your love,
now and for ever. Amen!

Prayer after Communion
Our God and Father,
your Son Jesus, has renewed in his blood
your covenant of life and love with us
and deepened the bond with you
and with all the covenant people.
May we listen to his words of life,
that we may pass from death to life
and grow to the full maturity
of Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord. Amen!

No one can say, “God has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” As a mother cannot forget the baby at her breast, God can never forget us. May God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *