Wednesday 09 March 2016
We have probably all experienced at some time in our life a feeling which is mirrored in the words of the First Reading today, from the prophet Isaiah: “For Zion was saying, ‘The Lord has abandoned me, the Lord has forgotten me…..’”
There are indeed moments, even perhaps lengthy periods, when all of us touch into a depth of feeling alone, unable to cope with a tragic loss or serious problem, experiencing an emptiness within which makes us feel we have no resources to take the next step. Sometimes we might feel close to despair.
It is at such times that our God of mercy and compassion wants to speak a personal word to us which God spoke through the prophet….. “Does a woman forget her baby at the breast, or fail to cherish the child of her womb? Yet even if these forget, I will never forget you.” This word of God speaks to us of who God really is, of who God wants to be for us at every moment and in every experience of life….but especially those experiences which can threaten to break our fragile spirit.
It was this God Jesus came to reveal to the people of his time. In the Gospel reading today, Jesus said to the people: “My Father goes on working, and so do I.” Just as God spoke to the people through the prophets in ancient times, so Jesus spoke and was present to the people of his time in the reality of their lives, and responded to the deep yearnings of their heart.
Jesus became incarnate in the real world of people’s darkness and struggles, and throughout his life and ministry he opened doors of hope, new beginnings and indeed new life for them. The invitation from Jesus to all of us today is that he needs, he wants to become incarnate again in life as it is today for all of us. But he chooses to become incarnate through us, through ordinary, real people like us, through the ordinary responses we can all make which can become moments of grace, healing and hope when they are done with Jesus, and in his power.
As Jesus reached out and became present to people in their different experiences of darkness and suffering, so Jesus sends each of us to reach out and be present to people at moments when they feel very low. And it does not require extraordinary responses; Jesus will inspire in us the way to listen empathetically, and to touch people’s heart and spirit through our care, compassion, and understanding.
This is what our church communities need to be so that all of us, including ourselves when we feel lost and abandoned, will find that God’s word is true: “Does a woman forget her baby at the breast, or fail to cherish the child of her womb? Yet even if these forget, I will never forget you”.
Let us pray during this Lenten season that each of us, and our own parish communities, will continue to make real this word of God, and be this presence of healing, promise and hope.
+Bishop Kevin Dowling C.Ss.R
Diocese of Rustenburg