Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
All who are in tombs will hear his voice and will come out…
Life is God’s to give. As St. Peter confesses to the Lord, “you have the words of everlasting life.” But more than that, the Word itself is alive; how sharp, how powerful the Word of God and even our words to one another, as today’s readings emphasize.
The Lord says in Isaiah, “…I answer you…I help you.” The psalmist reminds us He is “near to those who call upon Him…” Jesus proclaims in John’s gospel, “Whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life.” The Lord reveals to the Israelites it belongs to them to say to the prisoners, “Come out!” Such a word goes forth from us because we have first received it in our own lives, as Jesus says “…all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out.”
God always brings us to life through death, calls us to light from darkness, lifts us from falling and raises us as we bow down. When my vulnerability is exposed I often meet it with prideful, even silent denial rather than humble honesty. If the Word is sharp and vivifying, my silence is blunt and paralyzing; how can the Lord answer one who will not call upon Him? But to cry out to the Lord in truth is to invite the life-giving response He promises to give. Isaiah reminds us we are led by one who pities us; Jesus does not scorn or mock our need, He meets us in the very depths of it. “He lifts up all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.”
In Lent we may pointedly acknowledge needs that are always present in us, though at other times perhaps not clearly before us. Let us cry out to the Lord, that He may respond. Let us allow the Word to penetrate our need and move us to bring light to those in darkness.
Catholic Studies Graduate Student