Gospel: Jn 5:17-30
Jesus replied, “My Father goes on working and so do I.” And the Jews tried all the harder to kill him, for Jesus not only broke the Sabbath observance, but also made himself equal with God, calling God his own Father.
Jesus said to them, “Truly, I assure you, the Son cannot do anything by himself, but only what he sees the Father do. And whatever he does, the Son also does. The Father loves the Son and shows him everything he does; and he will show him even greater things than these, so that you will be amazed. As the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son gives life to whom he wills. In the same way the Father judges no one, for he has entrusted all judgment to the Son, and he wants all to honor the Son as they honor the Father. Whoever ignores the Son, ignores as well the Father who sent him.
Truly, I say to you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; and there is no judgment for him, because he has passed from death to life.
Truly, the hour is coming and has indeed come, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and, on hearing it, will live. For the Father has life in himself, and he has given to the Son also to have life in himself. And he has empowered him as well to carry out Judgment, for he is Son of Man.
Do not be surprised at this: the hour is coming when all those lying in tombs will hear my voice and come out; those who have done good shall rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. I can do nothing of myself. As I hear, so I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will, but the will of him who sent me.“
One of the most painful moments in the history of Israel was their exile to Babylon. At that time they felt that Yahweh had abandoned them. The prophets, especially Isaiah, was sent to remind them that it was because they had been unfaithful to the Covenant that the Lord God had punished them. But only for a while. The anger of God is but a while. Deutero Isaiah then tells the Israelites that they will be restored to their homeland. They will have a “homecoming!“
In a beautiful hymn Isaiah sings: “Can a woman forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child of her womb?“ Yes, indeed, the Lord does punish us for our sins, but in the end His mercy endures. “Hindi kita malilimutan, hindi kita pababayaan, nakaukit magpakailanman ang iyong pangalan sa aking palad“ goes our beautiful rendition of this hymn of Isaiah!
Lent is the time when we are reminded of our sins and at the same time it is a time to remember that our God invites us back to return to Him. Lent is a time of “pagbabalik loob sa Diyos na maawain magpakailanman!“ Lent is the “favorable time“ for the return of “prodigal sons and daughters“ to the Father’s house. It is time for a “homecoming!“