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Covenant Love

March 25, 2013

(Late) from Wednesday, March 13, 2013, Fourth Week of Lent

Isaiah 49:8-15.  I have given you as a covenant to the people, to restore the land.

John 5:17-30.  As the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also does the Son give life to those whom he chooses.

Gospel Reflection:

Lætare.  Rejoice.  You heard Father Zach this weekend: we made it to the halfway point, again. And we have much to rejoice about.  The Lord IS gracious and merciful, indeed.  And much more.  If we were to fast the remaining days to Easter, surviving on just today’s Scripture, I wager we would still be full.

These are two tremendous readings, that the time allowed, and my inexperience do not do justice.

Isaiah sets the stage; God’s promise is there, and it is a covenant in the form of his servant – his servant his Son.  Those imprisoned by their sin – come out, be free.  Those in darkness of death because of their sin, come out, be in the light.  And you shall not hunger or thirst.  Because of the Father’s love for us, the Son shall die, but dying he destroyed our death. Our death by sin.  Passionist Father, Carroll Stuhlmueller, C.P., whom I admire greatly, writes, “Here, perhaps, is the most touching expression of divine love in the entire Bible; John will transfer the idea to the fatherhood of God… They furnish us with an image of divine love so far beyond human love as to constitute the greatest mystery of faith.”  And indeed John does.  Our Lord says, Amen, amen twenty six times in this Gospel.  Truly, truly!  It means, “Pay attention!”  He says it three times alone in this reading!  I say to you the Son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing.  Whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me… has passed from death to life.  The dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. The dead are those who were spiritually dead, but by accepting Jesus’ word of life they now live.  And the Lord reminds us that he does not seek his own will but the will of the one who sent him.  It is all about the Father. Surrender our wicked deeds and accept the love of the Father.

John will transfer the idea to the fatherhood of God… They furnish us with an image of divine love so far beyond human love as to constitute the greatest mystery of faith.

In explaining to us the new covenant the Father wants, Jesus makes three claims here that make a whole host of enemies: that he is equal with God in nature, that he is equal to God in power, and that he is equal to God in authority.  For these things the Jews were incensed.  Their course, and the Lord’s lead to his Passion.  Though the powers align against him, we mustn’t forget, the love the Father has for us, and the redemption from death the Lord bestows, to allow us to live in that love eternally.

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