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The Gift of Our Father
Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”
Opening Prayer: Good Father, you so loved the world that you gave your only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. Father, thank you for your Son. Thank you for Jesus.
- The Holy Spirit: To cry has many meanings. It means to lament and weep in tears, to call out loudly, to strongly plead, to beg. Jesus was doing all of these. The hour was soon coming when he would be turned over to the authorities to be tortured and crucified, and he knew it. Forces had been aligning against him and increasing in hostility. One of the dangers came from his own friend. From the beginning of John’s Gospel, this moment was prophesied: “He came to what was his own but his own people did not accept him” (John 1:11). Jesus knew many would not accept him and yet begging, pleading, weeping for souls, he cried out, “I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.” How often do we contemplate the awesome reality of how far God goes to draw us to him? This reality can console us when our efforts to catechize our children and evangelize others appear futile. We do not give up. We cannot usually cry out as Jesus did, but we can cry out to Our Father in Jesus’ name and ask for courage and perseverance. “As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son in our hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’ So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God” (Galatians 4:6).
- The Word: Jesus had healed the sick. He had fed the hungry. He had brought the dead back to life. He had preached the Good News: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24). We meditate on these truths in Scripture frequently. We have the Bible, the traditions of the Church, and the writings of saints over more than 2,000 years to strengthen our belief. Through living by the Word, we do not condemn ourselves but hope for the promise of eternal life. This hope is a source of joy for faithful Christians. Padre Pio advises us to “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.”
- Our Father: Jesus tells us, “…I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me.” In the USCCB document The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church, the bishops stated, “The mission of the Lord’s entire life on earth was to glorify the Father by bringing us salvation.” The bishops explained that the Son of God was the Father’s gift, and how we receive this gift determines our path to salvation. “To begin to comprehend the tremendous gift offered by Christ through his Incarnation, death, and Resurrection, that gift which is made present to us in the Eucharist, we must first realize how truly profound is our alienation from the source of all life as a result of sin.” The more we recognize sin for what it is, the more grateful we are for our redemption, accomplished by Christ. The Father’s gift of his Son is both the path to salvation fueled by the Eucharist and the remedy for every obstacle that prevents our progress through the sacrament of Reconciliation.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, I so often become discouraged, believing Satan’s lies that it is up to me to ascend in holiness. I know that the only way is always and only you. I want to receive you as our Father’s gift. I cannot earn your love. I already have it. My response should always be gratitude to the Father and eagerness to take advantage of the sacraments.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will make a plan to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation this week, to remove the obstacles that keep me from seeing your light on my path to salvation.
For Further Reflection: Read the USCCB’s Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church.
Nan Balfour is an events coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope, a Catholic evangelization ministry that answers Christ’s call by guiding people to encounter him in order to live in hope as pilgrims in daily life. She is also a mother, writer, and speaker on Catholic topics.