St Mark’s Lenten Thoughts: Wednesday in the Third Week of Lent

Lent Week Three—Wednesday

Psalm 81 Jeremiah 8:18-9:6 Romans 5:1-11 John 8:12-20

Psalm 81 reminds Israel the love of the Lord brought them out of Egypt and protected them on their journey. Now Israel no longer responds to the Lord. She no longer hears Him. The psalmist recounts the Lord mourns Israel’s rejection.

In Jeremiah 8:18-9:6, the prophet laments the brokenness of Israel. “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?” …for the people “They bend their tongues like bows; they have grown strong in the land for falsehood and not for truth, for they proceed from evil to evil and they do not know Me says the Lord”….”Oppression upon oppression deceit upon deceit! They refuse to know me says the Lord.”

In both Old Testament readings Israel is requested to open their hearts to accept the Lord and they would be reconciled and justified. Help me, Lord, to open my heart to your word.

In Romans 5:1-11, justification comes to us through Jesus’ loving sacrifice on the cross. We are reconciled to the Lord through Jesus Christ. We are the recipients of God’s loving action.

John 8:12-20 is the last of a group of encounters with the Pharisees. In John 8:1-11 Jesus, outside the temple, has a woman caught in the act of adulatory brought to him by the Pharisees. They ask Jesus what should be done? The Law of Moses says she should be stoned. Jesus bends down and writes in the sand and the Pharisees challenge him again. Jesus answers “let him who is without sin cast the first stone” when Jesus looks up again only the woman is there. He asks “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said,” No one sir” and Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Now go and sin no more.”

Jesus next goes into the temple and announces “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of Life…” the Pharisees challenge Jesus’ authority and Jesus confounds them. In the presence of the Light of the world, they cannot see. Jesus goes on to say “You judge by human standards. I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgement is valid, for it is Not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me.”

Jesus does not condemn or judge. By his love, through the Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection Jesus’ loving action justifies and redeems us. Help me dear Jesus to avoid condemning or judging others and open my eyes to see what you want me to see.

Robert McVie

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