FIRST READING (Isaiah 49:8-15)
Thus says the Lord: “In a time of favour I have answered you, in a day of salvation I have helped you; I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages; saying to the prisoners, ‘Come forth,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear.’ They shall feed along the ways, on all bare heights shall be their pasture; they shall not hunger or thirst, neither scorching wind nor sun shall smite them, for he who has pity on them will lead them, and by springs of water will guide them. And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be raised up. Lo, these shall come from afar, and lo, these from the north and from the west, and these from the land of Syene.”
Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people, and will have compassion on his afflicted.
But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, my Lord has forgotten me.”
“Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”
GOSPEL (John 5:17-30)
At that time Jesus said, “My Father is working still, and I am working.”
This was why the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the sabbath but also called God his Father, making himself equal with God.
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing; and greater works than these will he show him, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.
“I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”
My Father is working still, and I am working - Servants of the Word
I will not be forgetful of thee - Fr Mark Daniel Kirby OSB
FURTHERMORE . . .
It is tempting to wonder whether the people of the Old Testament, when they heard the words of hope and consolation offered by their prophets, reacted as some of us often do today when we hear our leaders putting forward their plans for a better and brighter tomorrow. For it could not have been easy for a people who frequently saw themselves as abandoned and forgotten by God to accept such words and promises as those voiced by the prophet Isaiah which we hear in today’s first reading - the promise to restore the land, to release those in darkness, and to lead those who are hungry and thirsty to springs of water.
Yet if these prophetic pronouncements must have often appeared beyond the comprehension and wildest hopes of Israel, how much more remarkable it is to read in the Gospels that Jesus not only comes to fulfil these prophecies but to realize them in a far more marvellous way than the prophets were ever able to conceive. For Jesus, who reveals himself as the very presence of God among his people, not only discloses something of the mystery of God’s inner life but actually invites each of us to share in this divine life in eternity.
Notice that Jesus does not force us to accept this generous invitation. Just as he waits for the crippled man at the pool of Bethesda to reply to the question “Do you want to be well?” before curing him (John 5:6), so he wants us to respond to his promise of new life by listening to his words and seeking to do good. The traditional Lenten practices of prayer, alms giving and fasting offer us precisely the chance to listen to God, to do good to others and to ourselves. In such a way, we can journey towards Easter full of praise for a God who is ‘kind and full of compassion’, who does not forget his people but rather, in his extravagance, promises to raise us up to share in his own divine life.
Good Jesu, fountain of love:
fill me with thy love,
absorb me into thy love,
compass me with thy love,
that I may see all things in the light of thy love,
receive all things as tokens of thy love,
speak of all things in words breathing of thy love,
win through thy love others to thy love;
be kindled, day by day, with a new glow of thy love,
until I be fitted to enter into thine everlasting love,
to adore thy love and love to adore thee,
my God and my all.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Amen.Edward Bouverie Pusey (1800-1882)