Lenten Reflection Series | Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent
The religious leaders want to kill Jesus. Not only has he cured a man on the Sabbath, but by calling God his Father, he is “making himself equal to God” (John 5:18). Who is he to make such a claim? But Jesus points out that not only John the Baptist but the Scriptures and his own works testify to who he is (5:33, 36). Then, he says that his heavenly Father testifies on his behalf. The problem is that these religious leaders “have never heard his voice” (5:37).
We have heard the voice of the Father testifying to who Jesus is, both through the Scriptures and the Church. But do we hear him testifying to who we are? In the course of our daily lives, his voice can get drowned out by other voices—perhaps by our own condemning thoughts, the demands of life, or the temptations of the devil. So let’s take some time today to imagine our own heavenly Father speaking to us:
“You are my beloved child; I love you unconditionally. Just as I called Jesus my ‘beloved Son,’ so too are you my beloved child (Matthew 3:17). I am pleased with you. I created you out of love, and you bring me much joy, simply because of who you are.
“You are my redeemed child; I have saved you from sin. I know how you sometimes struggle to believe that I have forgiven you. I also know how easy it can be to remain locked in guilt or shame. But I want you to believe that my mercy is for you. So when you wonder if I have really forgiven you, remember that I died for love of you.
“You are my treasured child; you have a future full of hope. It can be easy to slip into thinking that things will never change or to worry about your problems. I don’t want you to be anxious. Believe that all things will work for your good, and continue to place your hope in me.”
These are truths that do not change. So especially when you’re feeling unworthy, discouraged, or tempted to believe the devil’s lies, let your Father testify to who you are and what he has done for you. Let his testimony be the truth that you cling to.
“Father, I believe that I am who you say I am.”
We invoke your mercy in humble prayer, O Lord, that you may cause us, your servants, corrected by penance and schooled by good works, to persevere sincerely in your commands and come safely to the paschal festivities.