Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
(Isaiah 49:8-15; John 5:17-30)
A doctor had taken a special course in listening to heartbeats. He became able to detect not only the thump of a heart functioning badly but also the whiz of its slightest tremor. This ability enabled the doctor to warn young patients of heart problems that will likely face thirty years into the future. In today’s gospel Jesus speaks of a hearing sensitivity in his followers as sharp as this doctor’s.
He says that those who hear his word his voice will come out of their graves to pass into eternal life. What does his voice sound like? It is the whimper of those in need. It is the plea of the sick for companionship and the petition of the refugee for safe harbor. Because Jesus’ followers can discern such sounds, they are able to perceive his call when they are dead.
We have entered into a new phase of Lent. The readings are no longer about penance but about promise. Drawn especially from the Gospel of John, they describe the eternal life which is the destiny of those who follow Christ. It is the reward of those who have learned how to discern his voice.