I often recall the valuable truth taught to me many years ago by an older priest. He said that when we ministered to others in an authentic manner we would find ourselves being ministered to in return. If we did not experience this then our ministry had ceased to be creative, and it was time for us to re-evaluate our modus operandi. It is, therefore, suggested that some words from TODAY’S PSALM [51 or 50] could be the focus of this week’s reflection: “renew a steadfast spirit within me. ….. restore in me ….. sustain in me a willing spirit.” {my ministry to you good folk through these weekly reflections has found your enthusiasm, affirmation, constructive criticism, and encouragement being a ministry to me.}

To be constant in our creativity can be exhausting, and to avoid burn out, we have to regularly return to the basics. We have had four weeks of trying to turn ourselves into

DOERS! Now is not the time to weaken or throw-in-the-towel! Renew a steadfast spirit within me. ….. restore in me ….. sustain in me a willing spirit. If we are, in any way, beginning to ‘wilt’ under the pressures of Lent now is the time that the Lord will, if we really want him to, sustain us – but we must choose to be renewed in, and restored to, our original willingness.

This is why we must not make our Lenten creativity a do-it-yourself endeavour. There is no such thing as a

DIY Christian, Catholic, or disciple of Christ. Jesus himself was not a DIY fan. On the contrary, he offered up prayers and supplications …. to him who was able to save. [see OUR NEW TESTAMENT EXTRACT – HEBREWS 5: 7 – 9]. If Jesus found it necessary to turn to the Father with loud cries and tears, why should we be hesitant?

Now all that has been said so far connects well with THIS SUNDAY’S OLD TESTAMENT READING [JEREMIAH 31: 31 – 34]. The prophet speaks of the new covenant the Lord will make with his people. At once we must accept that any covenant is basically a contract, and all contracts (without exception) exist between at least two parties. The covenant proposed by God to his people was accepted by both parties. Our confession of Christian faith must always include our acceptance of this covenant. We are a Covenant People. There is no escape from this fact.

All too often our practice appears to believe that God ‘owes us’ – only he has made the bargain. He alone has duties and obligations – and the dice WE roll are often stacked against HIM. If the roll of the dice fails to hit the jackpot at the first throw, we try again and again – and when it continues to be elusive we tend to become disillusioned. It seldom occurs to us that the Lord’s dice are perfectly balanced – and we are simply not rolling them correctly. Perhaps we have failed to read the fine print?! The essential element is contained in the words recorded by Jeremiah: “I will be their God, and they shall be my people. …. they shall know me.” Do we really know him as our God, and do we know ourselves as his people? THIS SUNDAY’S GOSPEL [JOHN 12: 2- 33] outlines three essential elements of the covenant challenge and promise. First of all – “we wish to see Jesus.” However, do we want to know him? Then, “this voice has come for your sake.” Unlike most ordinary contracts, the Covenant exists primarily for our own benefit. God receives no ‘payoff’. Finally, “I … will draw all men to myself.” The ‘premium’ we have to pay is insignificant in comparison to the benefits. Today’s Psalm says it all: “restore me in the joy of your salvation.”

Do I want to be drawn to him?

 

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