Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind. Instead, 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. Isaiah 65:17-18
Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” The royal official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.” The man believed what Jesus said to him and left. John 4:48-50
MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. (Thomas Merton, “Thoughts in Solitude”)
Did you ever telephone someone and have them pick up the phone before you even heard the phone ring on your end? It is almost as if they knew you were going to call and sensed you on the other end of the line. Intellectually, we know that the phone had to ring or why would our friend have answered. But our sense of hearing tells us something was missing.
Throughout Lent, many of our readings lead us to reflect on the Living Presence of the Lord in the present moment. Isaiah chapter 65 (from which is drawn today’s first reading) starts out with God lamenting his wait for us to pay attention to him. God sounds almost desperate for our attention. Imagine a hungry infant screaming for his dinner. God, however, is more alone than that. He is alone like the father awaiting the return of his prodigal son.
God is ready to respond to us but we do not turn to him with our petitions. God is ready to offer us a hand to steady us on our walk, but we set out in a different direction. God is ready to respond but we remain pre-occupied with the show of sacrifices rather than the real work of piety, study and action. Just listen to his plaintive cry:
I was ready to respond to those who asked me not, to be found by those who sought me not. I said: Here I am! Here I am! To a nation that did not call upon my name. I have stretched out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, Who walk in evil paths and follow their own thoughts, People who provoke me continually, to my face, Offering sacrifices in the groves and burning incense on bricks, Living among the graves and spending the night in caverns, Eating swine’s flesh, with carrion broth in their dishes. Isaiah 65:1-4
God is sitting there waving his hands at us saying “Here I am! Ask me!” Yet we can not hear because we have the volume turned up too loud on March Madness, or Netflix or The Celebrity Apprentice. Before we even call, God is ready to answer. However, something is missing. God wants us to be like He is. God is waiting for us to say to Him, “Here I am.”
In the Roman official from Capernaum, we see a human parent exhibiting the same love for his child that we hear about in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. And we see Jesus being the bridge between a new heaven and a new earth.
After being rejected in his home town, Jesus went to Capernaum to live. The area became the center of Jesus’ Galilean ministry. This is important to understand because what happened there did not remain secret. News spread out from this town because it was at the center of trade. Merchants and traders came to this region and the traffic of the world passed through Capernaum.
Jesus returned to Capernaum (where he first performed the miracle at the wedding in Cana) and knew he would find the Roman official there. It mattered not that the official was not Jewish. What mattered was that he believed Jesus could save his son and he acted on that belief by going to meet Jesus. The Roman official knew that the mere presence of the Lord would be the answer to cure his son. Jesus was waiting for him and was there when the man turned to the Lord.
The people in Capernaum had plenty of opportunities to hear Jesus. However, Jesus has always demanded more than just passive listening. After we hear his voice, we must put that love into action. The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live,” and he and his whole household came to believe. John 4:53
Like the steward at the wedding who filled the six jars with water, the Roman official acted. Hearing was not enough. In the same way, we have to listen. But that is not enough. We have to follow through. The Lord is not waiting for us to give up Big Macs or “NCIS” reruns or even the grande low fat double Mocha chino at Starbucks. He is waiting for us to act. What do you think the Lord wants you to follow-up on this Lenten season?
posted by The Lighthouse Keeper at 10:11 PM ,source your daily tripod