Intention: For justice in our world, especially for all who are forgotten or excluded, abandoned or abused, persecuted or exploited, that good people everywhere will rise to their defense and come to their aid.
Today’s Gospel | John 8:51-59
Jesus said to the Jews: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” So the Jews said to him, “Now we are sure that you are possessed. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? Or the prophets, who died? Who do you make yourself out to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing; but it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ You do not know him, but I know him. And if I should say that I do not know him, I would be like you a liar. But I do know him and I keep his word. Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.” So they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.
A Lenten Reflection
What does it mean to “live one’s faith”? This is one of those questions that has a simple answer with complex implications. For many of us, living our faith just means making the effort to consciously connect our daily actions to our religious beliefs. However, doing this can lead us to the realization that religious beliefs, when earnestly pursued, will become a voice that critiques our actions, even to the point of demanding radical decisions to change how we live in order to become better people.
In the language of Christianity, a radical change of heart that moves us in that direction is referred to as metanoia, a Greek word which means “to turn again”. It is the habit of, in the midst of imperfection and unpredictability, constantly returning ourselves to living in God’s ways. Change is an uncomfortable prospect for some, mainly because it can threaten familiarity, which then threatens security. The need to feel secure in and if itself does not contradict faith…until we insist that our world can only be made up of what we can control and not of anything that requires trust or admits uncertainty. We believe only so long as we are insulated from the demands of believing.
Author Anne Lamott suggests, “The opposite of faith is not doubt. It is certainty.” Faith that refuses to be tested also refuses to be real. The essence of faith is confidence, regardless of any uncertainty, in God’s own faithfulness to us. During this time of Lent, we might reflect on what our daily choices say about our own idea of living our faith.
Eternal Father, your love has been present since the beginning of all things and continues to touch us today. It sees sin and loves the sinner. It sees failings and forgives. In this time of Lent, may we be grateful for your constant faith in us. Help us to turn away from our sinfulness and return ourselves to you, and to be signs of your saving presence to others, especially those who are most in need. We ask this of you who lives and reigns with your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.