[God] reminds them – and us – that we can read Scripture and seek truth; but unless we come to Him for life we cannot truly move forward. We are not truly living.
Day Twenty Six of Lent: Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent – Exodus 32
“Let Your blazing wrath die down [God]; relent in punishing Your people” -Ex 32:12.
Today’s Lenten Reflection
God’s patience was being put to the test in today’s reading. If it were not for Moses’ pleading for Him to hold back His chastisement(s) from the people, who knows if we would be here today to tell the tale. The truth is, God was ready to smite the whole lot of them for breaking the first commandment and idolizing a man-made golden calf. But somehow Moses conjured enough courage to offer a dazzling defensive argument to God. His faith and bravery was ultimately rewarded and Moses, by the grace of God, ended up changing the course of history forever.
In today’s Gospel we find Jesus taking a page from His Father’s book. He admonished the people for following in their forebears disbelieving and faithless footsteps. The people of His time (just like the people of old and the people of our time today) had been putting their trust in false gods rather than in God Himself. In light of this, Jesus reminded them (just as He is reminding us today) that they could listen to His words all they wanted but unless they came to Him for life, to learn the Truth and be transformed by it, they would not ascend to the heights they were being called, i.e. to be perfect as their father is perfect (Matt 5:48), move from glory to glory, holiness to holiness … to become saints.
In other words, it is one thing to hear (or read) the words of Jesus but it is quite another to pick up the cross and actually follow Him (Matt 16:24; 19:21). If we do not act on the Gospel message by obeying the Commands of Christ and amending our lives then, as Jesus stated, we are not truly living the Gospel Message … and like those of old, will have no divine life within us (Lk 9:24).
Day 26 Lenten Meditation
Think of your spiritual life today. Is God a first priority? Are you following His ways? What do you do to bring your faith to new heights? We are commanded by Jesus to pick up our cross(es) and follow Him. Notice how we are never told, “Listen to My message but you can keep doing whatever you wish.” To the contrary, “Whoever wishes to come after Me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matt 16:24). Following Jesus Christ in virtue and deed is not easy. But we were never promised it would be. Rather than an easy path, we were promised a narrow and arduous one. But we were also promised that if we did as we were commanded, if we picked up our crosses and followed Him, that He would be with us every step of the way; and that the one who persevered until the very end would inherit an eternal paradise with Him (Matt 24:13).
Additional Readings Today
John 5:31-47; Exod. 32:7-14
Jesus, we hear Your Words and we believe Your promises. Today we ask for the grace of courage like Moses so that we can put our fears aside, pick up our cross and follow You. We know that by seeking You and carrying out Your will instead of our own is the only way to true peace and happiness. So loving and patient Father, we surrender all of our thoughts, words and actions to You this day. Work in us and through us to bear witness to Your Gospel Message so that we may also bring Christ’s presence into the hearts of others as well. We pray this all in Your good and holy Name, amen.
Today’s suggested penance
Send a handwritten ‘Thank You’ note to someone to whom you owe a debt of gratitude.
“I am not capable of doing big things, but I want to do everything, even the smallest things, for the greater glory of God” –Saint Dominic Savio.