26 March, 2020

These very works which I am doing, bear me witness that the Father has sent me.

~ John 5:36 ~

Exodus 32:7-14; Psalm 106; John 5:31-47

Among the many gifts of Moses it is clear, today, that he is a skilled negotiator! The text teaches us, again, that the God of mercy is always willing to overlook our inability to choose correctly and, as always, ready to start something new. Our readiness to admit that we have got it horribly wrong at times and our willingness to return to the God of mercy, marks the beginning of something new. Moses knows that God is merciful and so, for the good of the wayward people he leads, he falls on that mercy. During Lent we too are invited to evoke God’s mercy on our waywardness.


Jesus is also driving a hard bargain in the Gospel. It is much more serious than the dialogue between Moses and God – and we continue to feel the uncomfortable tension in the scene. Jesus challenges us: do we really believe who Jesus is, and how has this changed our worldview?


Today Jesus asks us to consider if our lives are congruent with what we profess with our mouths. The witness of our lives indicates what we really believe. Often Christians are accused of being hypocritical because our actions do not mirror our words – our profession of faith. We get it badly wrong. Lent is a time in which we try to make sure that we, again, align our profession of faith, our words, our lifestyles and our actions so that they are all congruent with each other.


Notice too that the mounting tension between Jesus and his listeners is as a result of the man “ratting” on Jesus whom he cured earlier in this chapter of John. We, like Jesus’ hearers, are invited in this Lenten time to make a choice and our choice has consequences. Like the father in the prodigal son, God is waiting for us to make a move. Jesus tells us that God has done his bit by sending him and that his works bear witness to this. It is now up to us: what will we chose? Which areas of my life are  incongruent at this time?


Lord God,


Help me to align my words and actions this Lent.


Help me to know your mercy in my waywardness.


Help me to choose you above all else.




Catholic Parliamentary

Liaison Office

Jesuit Institute
South Africa

This reflection has been adapted from Have Mercy, O Lord! Daily Reflections for Lent by Grant Tungay SJ, Russell Pollitt SJ, Annemarie Paulin-Campbell, Puleng Matsaneng, Anthony Egan SJ and Frances Correia, & published by the Jesuit Institute South Africa in 2016.

Reflection prepared by

Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ

Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ entered the Society of Jesus in 2005 and underwent the usual course of studies in his formation, which took him to such varied places as Canada, France, Ireland, Kenya, Spain, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Whilst working at the Institute, Matthew managed the background technical aspects of much of the Institute's work and was involved in the Spirituality work, completing the Advanced Spiritual Directors Training Course and the Spiritual Exercises Training run by the Institute. He is a member of Spiritual Directors International and was also a part-time lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St Augustine College of South Africa. He is currently the Director of Communications for the Jesuits in Southern Africa, based in Lusaka, Zambia.

m.charlesworth@jesuitinstitute.org.za @mcharlesworth
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