2015 Lent Reflection – Friday 27 March

27 March Lent Reflec 2


Jer 20:10-13


A prophet in deep emotional turmoil! Jeremiah having the right message realizes that he has gotten the wrong friends. His downfall is their agenda. And successful they are. In all his confidence in God’s protection they make him vengeful longing for a doomsday of retaliation.

He is a far cry from Jesus’ “love your enemy” and “bless those who persecute you” (Ro 12:14, cf. 1 Cor 4:12) … and most likely far from satisfaction: I recall that Timothy McVeigh was put to death in the US for having killed 168 people and injured many more in a gruesome manner by bombing a federal building.

Quite some deeply hurt relatives did not feel satisfied. The retribution by death penalty looked too easy and even cheap; it brought no healing.

Would we as believers have something to offer that prevents from being drawn into a downward spiral of hurt and retaliation? I asked these days parishioners in a remote rural village to look at the cross and tell me what they saw. “The cross”, of course. And “Jesus”. “Something else?” I wanted to know.

After a short and eye-opening while they said: We see love. We see mercy. They saw the one who suffered injustice and extreme physical pain and did not turn to vengeance: Instead he faithfully carried on pleading forgiveness.

It appears that the company, the society of Jesus turns out to be a bunch of sinners or criminals when it comes to the test. Yet they got the desired place at his right and left, his outstretched arms embracing them with mercy. It was not one of his known followers to whom Jesus expressly promised instant access to paradise, but a nameless criminal turned “last-minute-disciple”.

Some may say this was possible for him because he is the Son of God. Jesus points at our share in the divine potential when he quotes Psalm 82 in today’s Gospel “I said you are Gods”. Perhaps you have experienced forgiveness and became able to show great love (cf. Lk 8:47-50). Then hear Jesus: “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” And only you can tell your sequel to this story.

Some Practical Suggestions:

  • Dare to meet Jesus on the cross and seek a place at his side. Trust in divine mercy should you become aware of the abyss in your own soul. Seek its affirmation in confession.
  • Become an agent of mercy yourself, developing your divine potential by granting mercy, while not condoning sin.
  • Pray for all those challenged by the evil they experience and assist those you know not to harden their hearts.
  • Turn your eyes to the cross and then rejoice and listen to the gentle words of the Exultet. The song of the Easter candle may become your eye-opening prayer when you light your own candle:


“May this flame be found still burning by the Morning Star: the one Morning Star who never sets, Christ your Son, who, coming back from death’s domain, has shed his peaceful light on humanity.”




+Bishop Michael Wüstenburg
Diocese of Aliwal North



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