April 28, 2021 (readings)
- Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
- Fr. James Swanson, LC
Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, thank you for this opportunity to grow in my understanding of your word. Bless me as I ponder these lines of Scripture and try to grow closer to you.
1. Knowing the Father: Jesus “cried out” to teach us that we have a Father who loves us in heaven. Jesus told us over and over throughout the Scriptures how much the Father loves us, but the brokenness of the world and within ourselves can make that truth hard to accept. Perhaps we have a bad image of what a father is because of something we have suffered personally. Perhaps the negativity that the world projects about fathers has confused us. Perhaps we are convinced by the devil’s lies that the Father doesn’t really love us or have our best interest at heart. The words of Jesus are trustworthy. Our Father in heaven loves us without limit. If we could just live as if we believed in that one truth, we would be transformed and our salvation would be assured.
2. Loving, Not Condemning: Jesus came not to condemn us, but he tells us that condemnation will be ours if we ignore the words the Father gave him to speak. We find all of the Lord’s truths–well-articulated, concise, and as relevant today as they have ever been–in the teachings of the Church, summarized in the Catechism. Are we students of the Catechism? How well do we know our faith? Living by these words will save us from condemnation.
3. Living without a Father?: People worry about many things, from the very mundane to matters of life and death. When we worry, are we behaving like we have a Father in heaven who loves us more than we can imagine? If we are in his hands, what could threaten us? We need to embrace this truth, if we haven’t already because Our Lord is asking us to help others know the Father by our words and actions.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, I say the “Our Father” so often that it has become rote. Send your Spirit to enlighten me so that my faith in the Father grows stronger. I want to love the Father as you do.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will say the “Our Father” slowly with meaning, before the tabernacle if possible.
For Further Reflection: A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God's Covenant Love in Scripture by Scott Hahn.
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