Relenting our Punishments

30 March 2006: Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Ex 32: 7-14; Ps. 106; John 5: 31-47

In the first reading from the Exodus, Moses is the intercessor of Israel. The episode of the golden calf is an occasion for Moses to step once again into the rift before God in order to save his people. Israel has made an idol and worshipped it. It has earned God’s anger towards his people’s hardheadedness and the coldness of their hearts.

In the Gospel, Jesus is our intercessor; stepping on our defense that we are more important that Sabbath laws. The call of human suffering is more important than following stiff structures. Jesus defends us, despite our sinfulness.

In life, we have experienced such mediation. The mother protects her children from the anger of their father; or the father protects his children from the possible judgment of others. We also have experienced friends coming to our aid, protecting us from possible bullying of others. We have experienced being mediators and intercessors.

In all episodes, in the Old and the New Testament, we have seen God’s love: despite his anger towards us, or his resentment because of our unfaithfulness, the Lord has relented in punishing us. In fact, he does not.

We too are called to relent and not to pursue seeking revenge or letting out our wrath on others, not just our enemies, but those our loved ones. In fact, most of us get more angry and hurt by people whom we love because they are closer to our hearts than anyone else. We are called to step back a little, because our burst of anger at people whom we love, do not yield a good result. Often, when we realized that we have committed a grave mistake, it is already too late --- the persons whom we loved, who have been hurt by our malicious comments and outbursts, have already decided to break away from us.

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