Homily for March 9th, 2016: Is. 49:8-15; John 5:17-30.
said, >The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has
forgotten me.=@ Those were the closing words of our
first reading. Have you ever felt like that? You pray, and the Lord seems to
answer with silence. In that first reading it is the whole of God=s people who ask whether God cares.
In one of the most beautiful verses of Scripture, God answers their plaintive
question. ACan a mother forget her infant, be
without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even if she should forget, I will
not forget you.@ Zion
Scripture portrays God as our father many times over. God=s loving care for us includes qualities usually regarded as masculine: strength, power, sternness in discipline, and generosity in reward. But God is more than a father. Here he speaks, through his prophet Isaiah, to tell us that, like a mother, his concern for us includes qualities we think of as feminine: gentleness, tenderness, and warm, protective love.
Indeed, God=s tender concern for us, his children, exceeds that of the best father and mother combined. He knows our needs before we do, even as a good mother senses in advance the needs of her baby. Nature itself shows God=s loving care for everything he has created. Look at God=s handiwork in the flowers, his care for the birds. Can we suppose for one minute that we are of less value than these? If so, we have little idea of our true worth in the eyes of our heavenly Father.
In the gospel Jesus speaks of the intimate relationship between himself and his heavenly Father. “The Son cannot do anything on his own,” Jesus says, “but only what he sees the Father doing.” The union between Father and Son could not be more complete than that.
Moreover, if we are trying to live as Jesus lived, united with his heavenly Father and ours, and trying to do good to others, we have eternal life already, here and now, Jesus tells us. “Whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life,” Jesus says. Note: not “will have,” pie-in-the-sky-when-you-die, but here and now. Such people, Jesus assures us, “will not come to condemnation, but [have] passed from death to life. “ That is the gospel. That is the good news.