Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Recently archaeologists unearthed the “Cylinder of Cyrus”. This artifact is an ancient Persian treasure. This artifact also tells us by what is written upon it that Cyrus, though conqueror, was a benevolent King. On the “Cylinder”, an edict stated, (paraphrase) as your King I want you to know peace. You are no longer slaves and you are free to worship the religion of your ancestors.
This first reading, is speaking of the Servant of the Lord. This servant named here may be Cyrus, for historically, he allowed the Israelites to be freed from their captivity. Cyrus allowed the people to come out of darkness and return to their homelands where they could worship their own God.
Between the healing of the man born blind and the raising of Lazarus, all of these images are of movement from darkness to light. Indeed the Lord still seeks to draw us out of darkness. When I think of the darkness in my own life, whether it be lethargy or self-doubt ; choices toward sin can definitely draw us away from the light. And when I think I can do this all on my own then really fail to seek God’s will.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is essentially explaining his mission (God’s will); the reason for which he was sent. Jesus’ words speak in a similar way as Isaiah. They remind that our loving God sent his Son to preach the good news. Jesus reminds us that the Lord has not forgotten or forsaken those who hear the Word and believe in Him and the One who sent Him. Jesus is clear that his ministry is in union with the Father. Jesus is not doing this ‘on his own’ and neither are we, if we believe.
Our Lenten disciplines can free us from the darkness we find ourselves in. In this case we can call the darkness sin. The biggest point of the spiritual disciplines for me is that I realize I am not solely in charge of my life. I must rely on the Lord to lead me out of that darkness. If we rely only on our own will, we will likely not succeed. If there is a need for liberation in your life, call upon the Lord.
Lord, guide us this day to put aside all that leads us from You. Help us to strong even as the weight of our crosses may seem unbearable. Lead us to an understanding that we can do nothing on our own. Amen!