March 23: Fourth Monday of Lent

William Blake, The Ancient of Days (God as Architect), British Museum, London, 1794

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Isaiah 65:17-21
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-13
Gospel: John 4:43-54

“For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind (NRSV, Isaiah 65:17).”

Let us pray.

Father, there is no situation in which we find ourselves but that we cry out to be delivered from it. When we were slaves in Egypt we longed for freedom. Yet once across the sea, we murmured in discontent in the desert and longed for something more. Centuries later, we lamented our return to captivity, this time to Babylon. Even when we were released from that captivity by Cyrus the Persian and allowed to return to the land, all still seemed bleak, without reason for rejoicing. There is in fact, Lord, no circumstance, however blessed that it may seem, that satisfies. The reason, Lord, that it is only in you that we find happiness.

You have created us, Lord, to become one with you, to share your life into eternity. From the first moment, Father, your Word, always present to us, challenges us to accept the gift of your life and then to grow constantly in that life. It is this life and the continual growth in it that gives meaning to everything we are and everything we do. It alone gives us the power and strength to serve our neighbor in need. No matter how bleak a particular situation may seem, it is the acceptance of your life into that circumstance and the sharing of that life with one another that makes of it a moment of salvation.

Lord, may we not bless or curse our present condition but rather to lift our eyes up out of the present and to keep them always on you who are our future. We look to your promise of new heavens and a new earth that will overshadow former things and brings us to the fullness of life in you. May we become instruments of that future now by living transformed lives in the service of our sisters and brothers.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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