Lent invites us to serious reflection on how we are doing as disciples of Christ. Today’s readings from both Isaiah and John set before us various models for comparison or contrast. Isaiah describes a servant whose life for God made him as clear an example for others as a sharp sword or well-directed arrow, who nevertheless saw no visible results, but who actually became God’s instrument – not only for Israel but universally.
Jesus’ own life is patterned on this servant, and he calls us to follow in his steps. In the Gospel the disciple whom Jesus loved reminds us that outward example like the servant’s builds on the inward relationship with Jesus, symbolized by “reclining at Jesus’ side.” Judas warns us that we can betray that relationship, sometimes even hypocritically pretending to do good deeds like providing provisions or caring for the poor. Peter consoles us by showing that discipleship is rarely all success or all failure. From what we know will follow later in the Gospel, he teaches us that even after betrayal, we can turn in repentance and begin again.
So, the readings ask at least one question of us, “Who am I like?” And we ought not to forget the psalm that has us respond with trust that God will help us to grow as disciples, so that we will be able, by word and action, to proclaim his wondrous deeds.
Prayer for the Day
We thank you, our God, for the gift of Jesus and for both the call and the example he gives us of discipleship. During this time of Lent help us to rest in the presence of Christ within us, so that we might also follow outwardly in the steps of Christ as servants for others. Also during this Lent, we trust in your forgiveness of our shortcomings and the grace to begin anew, where we have fallen short. Amen.
Appointed readings for today: Isaiah 49:1-7, Psalm 71:1-14, John 12:20-36