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Godzdogz

The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

Built on the four pillars of our Dominican life – preaching, prayer, study, and community – Godzdogz offers many resources for exploring the Catholic Faith today.
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The extravagance of God

Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Wednesday 4 of Lent

Readings: Isaiah 49:8-15; Ps 144: 8-9, 13-14, 17-18; John 5:17-30

It is tempting to wonder whether the people of the Old Testament, when they heard the words of hope and consolation offered by their prophets, reacted as some of us often do today when we hear our leaders putting forward their plans for a better and brighter tomorrow. For it could not have been easy for a people who frequently saw themselves as abandoned and forgotten by God to accept such words and promises as those voiced by the prophet Isaiah which we hear in today’s first reading – the promise to restore the land, to release those in darkness, and to lead those who are hungry and thirsty to springs of water.

Yet if these prophetic pronouncements must have often appeared beyond the comprehension and wildest hopes of Israel, how much more remarkable it is to read in the Gospels that Jesus not only comes to fulfil these prophecies but to realize them in a far more marvellous way than the prophets were ever able to conceive. For Jesus, who reveals himself as the very presence of God among his people, not only discloses something of the mystery of God’s inner life but actually invites each of us to share in this divine life in eternity.

Notice that Jesus does not force us to accept this generous invitation. Just as he waits for the crippled man at the pool of Bethesda to reply to the question “Do you want to be well?” before curing him (John 5:6), so he wants us to respond to his promise of new life by listening to his words and seeking to do good. The traditional Lenten practices of prayer, alms giving and fasting offer us precisely the chance to listen to God, to do good to others and to ourselves. In such a way, we can journey towards Easter full of praise for a God who is ‘kind and full of compassion’, who does not forget his people but rather, in his extravagance, promises to raise us up to share in his own divine life.

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