In some ways, today’s readings give a strong response to one of the great questions of life: How can a God Who is love allow so many bad things to happen in life? Listen to God’s desire for us:
“I [God] am about to create new heavens and a new earth; … there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create; For I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight; I will rejoice in Jerusalem and exult in my people. No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there, or the sound of crying; No longer shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not round out his full lifetime;” (Isaiah 65:17-21)
From such passages we come to know and understand the goodness of our God, and of His deep desires for us. Today’s Gospel also reveals that God sent His Son Jesus to renew life. When a royal official approaches Jesus asking Him to come and heal his son who was near death, Jesus assures the man: “your son will live.” (John 4:43-54) However, in this Gospel we see an essential element for Jesus to bring us life. We need faith. We need to believe in Him.
These readings remind us that God gives us all we need for life, and in His Son, Jesus, we are given all we need for redemption and newness of life. While God did not simply create the universe and then sit back and allow it to spin into its own future, while God cannot be ‘manipulated’ by our many demands and requests, God does desire from us a faith-filled cooperation. Ultimately, God seeks our response of love.
So, why not take a fresh look at Jesus? Why not give another ‘read’ to His Gospel and commandments? Even though all people walk humbly with God, this will not eliminate all of the suffering of the human condition, but can you imagine what a better place the world will be with all people finding our unity in God, the One Father? What an advancement the human family can discover by seeking together the paths of peace, justice, and the common good of all!
Even those who continue to experience the ‘unexplained’ sorrows of this life such as an unexpected death of a loved one – through no one’s fault – the rest of us by choosing to love can bring our own care and love to bridge these gaps of grief. Even though God alone can intervene and do whatever He so chooses, He clearly seeks our cooperation in living according to His laws. He clearly desires each of us to be His collaborators in the way of Love.
May this season of Lent grant us this grace. May the Paschal Mystery of Jesus’ own suffering, death and resurrection strengthen us in faith during our own trials, grant us to grace to truly believe that our God is with us, our God is faithful, our God does care about us… more than we will ever know in this life. And may the grace that is ours in Jesus Christ grant us the Light to follow the ways of Love and guide our feet into the paths of peace.