MONDAY, FOURTH WEEK OF LENT
Is 65: 17-21; Ps 30: 2, 4-6, 11-13; Jn 4: 43-54
THE NEW KINGDOM!
The Hebrews were a rather legalistic people. One could even say that they were in fact, sin-oriented. If any individual committed a mistake, a sin, the injunction would be, ‘do the penance, make the sacrifice, and then return to society.’ The entire book of Leviticus is filled with rules, and the Pharisees did a great job in multiplying those. This kind of religion was not what God intended. We know it as we hear Jesus say, “The Sabbath was made for man not man for the Sabbath” (Mk 2:27). Jesus desired a purification of this ideology. He came with a single law – the law of love.
This new beginning that Jesus intended is spoken of by Isaiah. It describes the Kingdom of God, where joy, happiness and rejoicing abides. The Old Testament reading is fulfilled in the gospel. Isaiah says that in the New Jerusalem there will not be a child that dies young; in the gospel, we have Jesus who has ushered in the New Kingdom saving a child from dying.
Sadly though, the scribes and Pharisees who knew the scriptures saw in Jesus a threat and not the fulfilment of the prophecies of Old. For some, Jesus was the kind-miracle-worker, for others he as the compassionate teacher, for the conservative, he was the Sabbath-breaker, while for those of his hometown, he was just a carpenter’s son. Ask yourself today. “How do I see Jesus? Who is he to me?”
As we seek for the answer to the question above, let us also remember that Jesus did usher in a new kingdom – a kingdom of love, forgiveness and humility in which each of us are called to play a role. Our faith will enable us to surrender our worries and concerns over to Jesus, and make us trust in the words of Jesus. This Lent, let us also venture into practising the virtues of humility, forgiveness and charity as an expression of our love for him. Then shall we be worthy of the New Jerusalem, that neither requires nor demands signs and miracles.
Response: I will extol you, Lord, for you have raised me up.
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