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Thursday, April 2, 2020

Reflection: 2020-04-02 Thursday 5th Week of Lent

Genesis 17:3-9; Psalm 105; John 8:51-59
The Gospel ends another instance where Jesus reveals himself to those who would not believe in him. They challenged Jesus and ask him who he claims to be, whether he is greater than Abraham. To this Jesus says: If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, he of whom you say “He is our God”, though you do not know him. With this, Jesus reveals that those who proclaim his Father as their God, may not even know God! In this case, they worship a different God: the god of their imagination. Those who do this are actually committing idolatry without them knowing it, because they do not worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth!
At the end of his discourse with the leaders, Jesus says Very truly I tell you, before Abraham was, I am. With this, Jesus reveals himself as God, the God who appeared to Abraham in the first reading, who calls Abraham to walk before me and be blameless. When Abraham heard this, he fell on his face. Abraham did not ask any questions, but he just accepted what God told him. This is the response Jesus expects from those whom he calls: to walk before him, blameless. Ephesians 1:4 tells us [God] chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and unspotted in his sight in charity. To walk before God and be blameless is to be holy and unspotted in God’s sight!
How do we live this life? The Responsorial Psalm tells us: Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his presence continually. Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered. This shows us how we can live a holy life. We seek the Lord and his strength. Not only do we seek God, but we seek his strength, his power to save. Jesus said in Matthew 22:29 You err, not knowing Scriptures nor the power of God. Many say Scripture ONLY contains the truth. But Scripture also tells us, in fact Jesus tells us, knowing Scripture is not enough. We need to know Scripture AND the power of God! We know the power of God when we remember what he has done. The only way to a holy life is to seek God continually, without stopping, remembering his works. The Gospel Acclamation sums this up beautifully: If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts.
While God is not the source of this pandemic, God uses it for his purpose: to call each and everyone to himself. Yet many refuse to come to God, for whatever reason. The sad thing is, many still think wealth, power, authority, fame will satisfy. But this pandemic shows, all these are nothing. Those who invest in the stock market have seen their wealth decrease dramatically. We rarely see the famous people these days. The powerful can do nothing against this virus. They can also be affected, and some had been infected. All these fade away. Only God remains. And he calls us today, just like he did to Abraham: Walk before me and be blameless. Our response should be to accept this call and come before God. If today, you hear God calling you, respond to him. Tell him:
Lord, here I am. I come, not because of the great things I have done. But I come because you have called. Receive me as I am, with my faults, my sins, my failures, guilt and shame. I want to walk before you, holy and blameless. Reveal yourself to me as I accept you as you are. I submit myself to you. Come Lord Jesus. I hear your voice, look, your servant is listening.

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