Wednesday 22 March 2023 4th week of Lent
Thus says the Lord: At the favourable time I will answer you, on the day of salvation I will help you. (I have formed you and have appointed you as covenant of the people.) I will restore the land and assign you the estates that lie waste. I will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out’, to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’ On every roadway they will graze, and each bare height shall be their pasture. They will never hunger, or thirst, scorching wind and sun shall never plague them; for he who pities them will lead them
and guide them to springs of water. I will make a highway of all the mountains, and the high roads shall be banked up. Some are on their way from afar, others from the north and the west, others from the land of Sinim. Shout for joy, you heavens; exult, you earth! You mountains, break into happy cries! For the Lord consoles his people and takes pity on those who are afflicted. For Zion was saying, ‘The Lord has abandoned me, the Lord has forgotten me.’ Does a woman forget her baby at the breast, or fail to cherish the son of her womb? Yet even if these forget, I will never forget you.
Psalm 144 The Lord is kind and full of compassion.
Jesus said to the Jews, ‘My Father goes on working, and so do I.’ But that only made them even more intent on killing him, because, not content with breaking the sabbath, he spoke of God as his own Father, and so made himself God’s equal. To this accusation Jesus replied: ‘I tell you most solemnly, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees the Father doing: and whatever the Father does the Son does too. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he does himself, and he will show him even greater things than these, works that will astonish you. Thus, as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son gives life to anyone he chooses; for the Father judges no one; he has entrusted all judgement to the Son, so that all may honour the Son as they honour the Father. Whoever refuses honour to the Son refuses honour to the Father who sent him. I tell you most solemnly, whoever listens to my words, and believes in the one who sent me, has eternal life; without being brought to judgement
he has passed from death to life. I tell you most solemnly, the hour will come – in fact it is here already –
when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and all who hear it will live. For the Father, who is the source of life, has made the Son the source of life; and, because he is the Son of Man, has appointed him supreme judge. Do not be surprised at this, for the hour is coming when the dead will leave their graves at the sound of his voice: those who did good will rise again to life; and those who did evil, to condemnation. I can do nothing by myself; I can only judge as I am told to judge, and my judging is just,
because my aim is to do not my own will, but the will of him who sent me.’
My Dad Kevin was a butcher, and not just any butcher. He was a Master Butcher. It was written on the front of the shop – “Kevin Chaplin Master Butcher!” He not only could cut meat brilliantly, but he was skilled with customers. An angry or upset customer – he would have them feeling better in no time. A customer whose dog was not eating properly – Dad would have the solution. Family problems – not a worry – Kevin’s advice was sound. I think he must’ve also had a major in psychiatry, medicine, animal psychology, and in being a common sensed, good human being. I worked for Dad in his shop for some years – cleaning not butchering!! Customers would say, “aren’t you like your father!!” And yes naturally, I bear some physical resemblance to him, but more than that people recognised other similarities. To see me was to see my father and get something of a glimpse of what kind of man he was.
Well perhaps that is true of many families.
When we see Jesus, we see his father. Jesus echoed the qualities of God so congruently that one could say when they saw him and saw what he did and how he did what he did, that they knew the father because of the Son. I guess that is why we seek to know Jesus intimately so that we can know the father intimately.
I’m reminded of the first weeks of the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, in which we are encouraged to really get to see Jesus, hear Jesus, touch Jesus, even smell Jesus through the application of the senses. If you want to know the father who you cannot see, first get to know the Son who you can see and he will reveal to you the true nature of God.
The first reading echoes this reality for us, “For the Lord consoles his people and takes pity on those who are afflicted. ’ Does a woman forget her baby at the breast, or fail to cherish the son of her womb? Yet even if these forget, I will never forget you.” and the Psalm response also, “The Lord is kind and full of compassion.”
When we see Jesus, consoling, healing, liberating, forgiving, and having compassion, we see the Father at work. And when we see the father at work, we are astonished and full of awe, and we want to participate in this abundance. And as we do we find that our aim becomes like that of Jesus, to do not our own will, but the will of the father who sends us.’