Daily Homily: The Father Loves the Son

Fourth Week of Lent, Wednesday

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

In the first reading God speaks to the Suffering Servant about his mission. He tells him that he is given as a covenant to the people. This Servant is revealed in the New Testament to be Jesus Christ, who establishes the New Covenant in his blood. Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection will «restore the land», free those imprisoned by sin, enlighten those in darkness, and give heavenly food and living water to those who hunger and thirst.

The people, referred to as Zion, think that the Lord has forsaken them after the fall of David’s Kingdom. But God responds that he does not forget them, nor will he ever forget them, and uses the image of the enduring love a mother has for her child. God will comfort his people in their exile and show mercy to them in spite of their sins. In sending his only-begotten Son to save us from sin and death, the Lord reveals to us that he «is gracious and merciful». He is faithful, holy, just, and near to those who call upon him.

In the Gospel, Jesus declares that God is his Father. The works and signs that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, accomplishes are in full agreement with the works of the Father. The Son is the Word and Image of the Father and does what he «sees» the Father doing. Jesus speaks about two of these divine and fatherly works.

The first work concerns the bestowal of life. The Father, Jesus says, has life in himself. He raises the dead and gives life. The Father eternally gives life to the Son. The Son, in turn, gives life to those who believe in the Father and in the Son.

The second work concerns judgment. The Father himself does not judge, but instead has given all judgment to his Son. He has given the power to exercise judgment to the Son of Man. By becoming man, Jesus enters into solidarity with man. He can sympathize with our weakness. He understands us and was tested in all things as we are. He undergoes suffering and is transformed by suffering. He became like us in all things but sin, and takes upon himself the fate of sinful mankind (see A. Vanhoye, A Different Priest, 159-160). Our passage from death to life – our sharing in Christ’s passion, death and resurrection – depends on hearing the voice of the Son and responding to him in faith, as well as doing good deeds through the grace of God.

The Father sent the Son into the world not to condemn it but to save and redeem it (John 3:16). Those who reject the Father and the Son, those who love darkness rather than light (John 3:19), share in the resurrection of condemnation. Those, on the other hand, who believe in the Father and the Son and do good deeds (works of love and charity) will share in the resurrection of life. To all who receive the Word, to all who believe in his name, the Word gives power to become children of God.

Readers may contact Father Jason Mitchell at mitchelljason2011@gmail.com.

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Jason Mitchell

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