Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Wednesday in the 4th Week of Lent
Roads through the Mountains

Readings: Isaiah 49:8-15; Psalm 145:8-9, 13cd-14, 17-18; John 5:17-30

I cannot do anything on my own… because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me…

In a culture that tends to place too much emphasis on freedom and independence, on being able to do our own thing, these words of Jesus must seem strange, if not spineless. And, indeed, they can be misinterpreted, taken to mean something that they do not say. For they do not imply that we should forget about who we are and what we want and give in instead to everything others tell us. Quite the contrary, the first thing that Jesus’ words imply is not forgetfulness but remembering.

Just as the Father never forgets his children, so too are we invited continually to remember whence we have come and where we are headed. This means trying to remain in touch with our deepest desires. Not just the superficial cravings that often motivate our every thought and action, but the undying yearning that has been etched into our hearts by the same One who has carved us upon the palms of his hands.

To recall these desires, to get back in touch with these memories of eternity, is also to find ourselves drawn back to the heavenly home from whence we came. It is first to heed the call issued by the Father in the first reading: Come out! Show yourselves! It is also to take the road that the Father constructs for our return: I will cut a road through all my mountains and make my highways level… And it is also to do what Jesus professes to do in the gospel: to collaborate in the Father’s work, to raise our voices so that others might hear the call, to labor with our hands so that others might have a road cut through the mountains that obstruct their return.

This is the work that defines us as Christians. This is the labor that enriches our lives, the service that makes us free. It may take as many different forms as there are people. For to reach every corner, the call will need to be sounded in different languages and at different frequencies. To penetrate every obstacle, the road will have to be cut in different widths, laid with different surfaces. But whatever its sound and shape, the work will be the Lord’s, if it is done according to the Father’s will, if it leads us all back to the Father’s house.

What work are you busy with today?

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