Intention: For all who are standing up for justice, especially those who are persecuted for their courage, that God will continue to strengthen them and that their sacrifices may bear redeeming fruit.
Today’s Gospel | John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30
Jesus moved about within Galilee; he did not wish to travel in Judea, because the Jews were trying to kill him. But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near.
But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret. Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said, “Is he not the one they are trying to kill? And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him. Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ? But we know where he is from. When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.” So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said, “You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” So they tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come.
A Lenten Reflection
A Latin saying attributed to the writings of philosopher Desiderius Erasmaus reads, “Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit.” – “Bidden or not bidden, God is present.” For some, this saying merely states the obvious. A supreme being can move where and as he wills. However, on another level, it holds for us an implication that we do not always welcome, mainly because we sometimes are at a loss as to how we should respond to it.
The fact that God is here whether or not we desire for him to be means more than just having to accept God’s omnipresence. If we cannot escape his presence, then we cannot escape our relationship to him. That is the powerful implication of Erasmus’ saying. No amount of struggle or denial can ever separate us from who we were created to be. We can either be true to our identity or we can betray it, but we can never detach ourselves from it.
And so, the practice of recalling the presence of God is not merely an act of devotion. It is an acknowledgement of who we are and what we should be doing with our lives. Being made in the image and likeness of God is a grace filled with responsibility and opportunity. Lent is a time for us to reflect on what it means to live in the presence of God, not simply as a practice of pious mindfulness, but as a call to purposeful existence.
Eternal Father, your son suffered and died on the cross so that the world would know your gift of eternal life. In this holy time of Lent, we pray for the humility and courage to accept your gift of salvation. We come to you as we are, ready to learn from you how to turn our lives around and make your ways our ways. Help us to let go of our self-centeredness and to open our hearts to your presence and truth. Make of us a caring and faithful people. We ask this of your who lives and reigns with your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.