Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent – The Awesome Promise of Salvation
Readings: Isaiah 49: 8-15; Psalm 145; John 5: 17-30
In today’s readings, both from the prophet Isaiah and the Gospel of St John, we read of the great things God promises he will do for humanity. Isaiah speaks in dramatic terms of salvation and liberation, not only of the people of Israel, but of those who ‘shall come from afar’ to receive his salvation. In the Gospel, Jesus speaks of great deeds at which his hearers will be amazed: as he goes on to explain, the dead shall be raised to eternal life.
And yet, when we read the dramatic words of Isaiah, we do not necessarily interpret them as straightforward words of comfort. We hear of the unchangeable love of God for his people, but we also hear of the mountains that will be flattened in an expression of that love: ‘it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God’, as the Letter to the Hebrews says (Heb 10: 3).
It might well be the case that we don’t feel as enthusiastic as we think we should about the prospect of encountering God, or of the resurrection to judgement of which Christ speaks – and that shouldn’t be a surprise. It is the task of our whole lives as Christians – and, by God’s mercy, the process may be completed even after this life in Purgatory – to allow ourselves to be transformed and prepared by God to witness the fullness of his glory and power, but also of his boundless love for all humanity.