Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Lectionary: 246

“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.

Yesterday we heard the odd story of Jesus' healing of an old man who had taken up residence at the pool of Bethesda. Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath despite the man's not asking for a healing, and despite his half-hearted response when Jesus asked, "Do you want to be healed?" 

Jesus did this entirely on his own initiative and, because it was on the Sabbath, it could only lead to trouble. At that point he might have handed out business cards with the motto from Raymond Chandler's character Phillip Marlowe: "Trouble is my business." Is he really looking for it? 

Today's gospel opens the mystery of healing as Jesus speaks of his relationship with his father. 

The Church has traditionally recognized this and many passages like it as revealing the mystery of the Holy Trinity. The intense sympathy between the Father and the Son and the implicit, eager obedience of Jesus to his Father are continually amazing and inspiring. This is the original beauty from which every beautiful thing, idea or person is created. 

But we must not forget the original intent of John 5. Jesus has healed a crotchety old man and once again angered his enemies to save us, and to invite us into his Saving Work. The Bible is not just displaying eternal, beautiful mysteries as if they were art works in a downtown museum; the Bible reveals God's intent to deliver us from our sins and sweep us into his own divine life. 

Is Jesus looking for trouble? Yes, in the sense that this is the only way that he can convey to us the utter seriousness of his mission, that he really intends to save us because he and his Father regard us as worthy of the sacrifice, even at the cost of his prolonged agony and death.

The Father has sent the Lord to save us and Jesus hastens toward Jerusalem to do just that. He does it because he loves us and, more importantly, because his Father wills it. 

How can we do anything less than go with him? 

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.