FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT
I went to the evening mass in Westminster Cathedral and was struck with renewed force by what is arguably the most famous passage in the Bible, from John 3:14-21:
“Yes, God loved the world so much that He have His only son, so that everyone who believes may have eternal life.”
As I heard and read these words, with incomparable force, I believed then. Later the old doubts returned about one intelligence being able to create the whole universe.
But I can understand why people who read these words have been hit by immovable faith to dedicate their life to Jesus’ teaching.
This is Laetare Sunday – “Rejoice” Sunday – anyway, an opportunity to rejoice in these words.
I was discussing John 3 with a friend today. He reminded me of one of the episodes in the Gospels when the father of a sick child asks Jesus to help my unbelief. I looked it up; it is in Mark 9:24.
“And Jesus said to him, ‘If thou couldst believe all things are possible to him that believes’. And immediately the father of the young child crying out said with tears, ‘I believe. Help mine unbelief.’”
This should be my motto.
TUESDAY – St Patrick’s Day
I like these words from the first reading today:
“Everything will soon come to an end, so to pray better keep a calm and sober mind.” (1 Peter 4:7-11)
Everything will soon come to an end – why worry very much? We do but why when we know everything will soon come to an end. We ponder too little day by day on that end.
The main event today for us was not the budget but having forty colleagues around to hear the Chief Whip – a great deal of preparation needed but giving parties is always fun. I didn’t even have time to go to Mass. A Martha rather than a Mary day.
“The Lord is kind and full of compassion.” (Psalm 144)
THURSDAY – St Joseph
A strange man, for most of the Gospels he is either largely silent up to the Presentation, or absent altogether after. But he makes the single most important decision in history. He does not turn Mary away.
Behold, a faithful and prudent steward whom the Lord set over his household.
I spoke in the budget debate yet said much the same thing I had said in all the previous ones.
In the evening I went to the Stations of the Cross in the Cathedral. This service never fails to move, especially when the vast crowd is still at the death of Jesus.
I was most struck by the words of the priest. That Jeremiah and for that matter Jesus had resonance in their message precisely because they were powerless. That evil to flourish always needs power. That is not the power, the effect, the title that matters but the message.
“I for my part was like a trustful lamb being led to the slaughterhouse.” (Jeremiah 11:18)