4th Week of Lent

Each went to his own house. (John 7:53)

Jesus is such a good teacher that we learn not only from his words but from his example as well.

In today’s Gospel, we read how, after spending the day arguing and debating with Jesus, the chief priests who opposed him all went home (John 7:53). Jesus, however, didn’t go home. He didn’t have a home to go to! Instead, he withdrew to the Mount of Olives, a quiet and peaceful place, where he could spend time praying (8:1). He knew that by resting in his Father’s presence, he could be strengthened for the challenges that lay ahead—all while his opponents slept soundly in their beds.

What a model for us to follow! Between work and home and family and church, we have so much to do. And that doesn’t include the way we can get worn-out by the cares of life or sickness or our own inner struggles. In the midst of all this busyness and tiredness, Jesus’ example tells us how important it is that we take time out to pray.

In this passage in particular, but throughout the Gospels, Jesus demonstrated the inner peace that comes when we make it a habit to come into the presence of God. It’s in prayer that we can receive a fresh infilling of his love and find the guidance we need in difficult situations. It’s in prayer that our perspectives can become broadened so that we don’t focus only on the crisis at hand. And it’s in prayer that we can allow God’s truths to form and shape our attitudes.

Nowhere can we experience prayer more deeply than in the Mass. Gathering in the presence of Jesus and our brothers and sisters, we have a unique opportunity to unburden ourselves and to be renewed and revived. We have the wisdom of God’s word to guide us. We have the witness of our parish members to encourage us. And we have the ultimate privilege of receiving Jesus in Communion, taking him into our very hearts and bodies. So much nourishment! So much refreshment! So much love poured out! And, most important, so much grace given us to “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord”!

“Father, you have called me to be your witness. Refresh me tomorrow at Mass so that I can continue to testify to your love.”

Jeremiah 11:18-20
Psalm 7:2-3, 9-12