“The man believed what Jesus said to him…” (J 4:50)
God. Man. Between them: the word of God. Reaction of the man – he believed. And because he believed, he left. He put his faith into action.
God speaks to us every day. He sends us answers for our prayers. And the reaction for the word should be our action.
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His word I put my hope, for with the Lord is unfailing love” (Ps 130:5.7)
“Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. Be joyful, all she were in the mourning; exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast.” (Entrance Antiphon)
“…You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.” (Eph 5:8-9).
Today is the Sunday which is called “Laetare” – Rejoice! In today’s Mass, the rose-coloured vestments can be used by the priest, and the altar may be decorated with flowers. Today everything is about joy. Why? Because He is our Light with which we can see the whole world from a different perspective, from His perspective. We can discover the beauty of His look. “Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart”. And in our hearts He can see not our weakness, but our love for Him and all our efforts. We can entrust ourselves to His love.
“I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life”. (Verse before the Gospel)
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself… But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed…” (Lk 18:10-13)
“Went to the temple area to pray”. The same time, the same purpose, different prayer. One “spoke this prayer to himself”, the other “at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven”.
It is not enough go “to the temple area” to call this act a prayer. Even there we could forget to worship Him.
“If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts” (Verse before the Gospel)
“Take with you words, and return to the LORD” (Hos 14:3).
How important are words. They help us to return to the Lord. Words can repair our relations with others, too. And we should have a lot of words of love, respect, gentleness… We can use the same words when we talk to Him, to our Lord and when we talk to our neighbors – because He joined the words of love in one commandment.
“To love God with all your heart, and your neighbor as yourself, is worth more than any sacrifice” (Prayer after Communion)
“Listen to my voice; then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Walk in all the ways that I command you, so that you may prosper. But they did not listen to me, nor did they pay attention.” (Jer 7:23-24)
Our freedom. Blessing and curse. When we listen to Him, we are closer to our identity as God’s children. When we don’t, we are alone. Without Him as our Father we can’t be His children. And without being His children we can’t enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. We are not only alone but also without the goal in life.
“Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, for I am gracious and merciful” (Verse before the Gospel).
“…whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 5:19)
Probably majority of us will concentrate on the words: “commandments” and “obeys.” Because we have some idea how difficult it is. Only some of us focus on the word – teaches. Unless you are a teacher.
And every of us would like to be called “greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.” But the most important thing is that “these commandments” are His. And His words brings life. And happiness.
“Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life; you have the words of everlasting life.” (Verse before the Gospel)
“…name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us!” (Is 7:14)
From today on He will be with us. Hidden in His Mom’s womb, under Her heart. At this moment, only she knows about Him. Nine months later He will appear to the world.
The most intimate relationship between the mother and child. This is His beginning in this world. God, who came to meet us and save us, came in the most spectacular way. As a child, as a member of the family.
Every mother knows how unique and special this time is. And today we are invited to keep Him in our hearts, to let Him grow in me and show Himself through my life.
“The Word of God became flesh and made his dwelling among us; and we saw his glory.” (Verse before the Gospel)
“…if the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary, would you not have done it? All the more now, since he said to you, ‘Wash and be clean,’ should you do as he said.” (2 KGS 5:13)
How often we think about doing something bold or big for Him. And He expects simplicity from us. It wasn’t a big thing – “Go and wash seven times” (2 KGS 5:10). Sometimes it is better to do something small but for a long time. When I read this passage I always think about the last time, the seventh time the man washed himself. After the sixth time he was still ill. After the seventh – “his flesh became again like the flesh of little child” (2 KGS 5, 14). He trusted Him and God made him a child again. A God’s child. Because for God we are always His children. And this is the safest relationship.
“I hope in the Lord, I trust in his work; with him there is kindness and plenteous redemption.” (Verse before the Gospel)
“…thirst for water” (Ex 17:3)
In the first reading, the“thirst for water” was an occasion to call out to God with frustration and anger.
In the Gospel – it was an occasion to offer the “living water”, the “spring of water welling up to eternal life” to the Samaritan woman.
A common daily need – the thirst for water. God promised us: “For whoever will give you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, truly I tell you, he will not lose his reward” (Mk 9:42).
“Lord, you are truly the Savior of the world; give me living water, that I may never thirst again” (Verse before the Gospel).
“Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them’.” (Lk 15:1-2)
How sad. The people famous for knowing the Scripture and law rejected The Word Incarnate and the Lawmaker. And at the same moment, tax collectors and sinners were drawing near to listen to Jesus. In Him we can recognize the love of the Father. “While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.” (Lk 15:20). The love of the Father. We – “still a long way off”, He – “ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him”.
“The Lord is kind and full of compassion, slow to anger, abounding in mercy. How good is the Lord to all, compassionate to all his creatures”. (Ps 145(144), 8-9)