Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent
March 27, 2021
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray a responsorial from the Book of Jeremiah:
The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards the flock.
The psalm today, with the first reading, brings assurance that God remains with us through suffering and will heal and make us whole again.
That reassurance is needed as we hear the Gospel’s tone darken. After the raising of Lazarus, the whole nation waits to see what will happen to Jesus as Passover nears.
I think, in some ways, impending doom is almost worse than doom itself. Picture the part in a movie where the attacker waits in the dark while the victim tiptoes into lurking danger.
That frightening music they always play! Sometimes the tension heightens to the point that I have to hit the mute or close my eyes!
This is what all surrounding Jerusalem felt like in today’s Gospel. The dark edge of evil hangs in inevitable threat.
But for Jesus, who walked in the hidden light of the Father, the moment brought more than threatening shadows. It was time to fulfill an ancient promise. It was time to offer the greatest act of Love.
Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,Jeremiah 31: 10-12
proclaim it on distant isles, and say:
He who scattered Israel, now gathers them together,
he guards them as a shepherd his flock.
The LORD shall ransom Jacob,
he shall redeem him from the hand of his conqueror.
As Jesus went off alone to Ephraim to prepare his heart and soul for this ultimate fulfillment, perhaps a prayer from Jeremiah strengthened him, a remembered promise from Ezekiel focused him.
Let us pray with Jesus today as he asks the Father to “shepherd” him. With Jesus, may we find our own strengths and understandings in these ancient prophets.
Poetry: Redemption by George Herbert (1593-1633)who was a Welsh-born poet, orator, and priest of the Church of England. His poetry is associated with the writings of the metaphysical poets, and he is recognised as “one of the foremost British devotional lyricists.”
Having been tenant long to a rich lord, Not thriving, I resolvèd to be bold, And make a suit unto him, to afford A new small-rented lease, and cancel th’ old. In heaven at his manor I him sought; They told me there that he was lately gone About some land, which he had dearly bought Long since on earth, to take possessiòn. I straight returned, and knowing his great birth, Sought him accordingly in great resorts; In cities, theaters, gardens, parks, and courts; At length I heard a ragged noise and mirth Of thieves and murderers; there I him espied, Who straight, Your suit is granted, said, and died.
Music: Like a Shepherd – St. Louis Jesuits