A nurse in a hospital emergency room escorted a young man to the bedside of a dying, elderly patient. The nurse whispered to the dying man: “Your son is here.” The patient could barely see; he reached out his hand and the young man squeezed it, sat by the old man’s bed, holding his hand, gently stroking his forehead. A half hour later, the old man died.
The nurse began to offer her condolences. But then the young man asked: “Who was that man?” The startled nurse said, “I thought he was your father.” “No, I never saw him before.” “But then why didn’t you say something?”
The young man simply said: “I knew from the expression on your face and the tone of your voice that this dying man needed his son right away, and obviously his son wasn’t there. And when I realized he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, I knew how much he needed me.”
Lent invites us to refocus on the things of God, to see one another (“with the eyes of God”) as brothers and sisters.
Almost 4,000 years ago, Abraham was a model of complete trust in God, a faith-filled human being. Abraham’s call is a watershed in the history of our salvation: God put Abraham to the test by asking him to sacrifice his son.
God later sent his only Son into our midst—the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. This Jesus reconciled us to God and opened to all humankind life beyond this earthly life.
The early Christian community saw Jesus as the fulfillment of their hopes and so they named him the Messiah or anointed one.
But the more they reflected on who he was, the more they saw him not only as the fulfillment but as the foundation of their hopes so they also named him the Word, the eternal Word that the Prologue to the Gospel according to John captures so magnificently: In the beginning was the Word etc.
Jesus was a real person like ourselves. But he was more; he was true man and true God. He had a unique relationship to the God of ancient Israel; he was one with God. And through his own life, death and resurrection, he opened up to us the “doors” of eternal life with God.
And what did Jesus teach?
That the kingdom of God was breaking into our midst.
That you and I can share in this kingdom by living a life of discipleship.
And that God is our Father. This is indeed a tremendous reality of our faith. The God of this magnificent universe of ours lives and dwells within us.