15 March, Monday — To believe without action is not to believe

Monday of the 4th Week of Lent

Isa 65:17-21
Jn 4:43-54

Sir, come down before my child dies.

In today’s gospel, Jesus saves another from imminent death at the request, the begging, of a parent. 

Imagine the scene — Jesus enters Cana with his disciples and followers, returning to the place of his first miracle; to a people who have been hearing of all the his miracles in Jerusalem, he is welcomed and cheered. Many are there ‘just to see’ this miracle man, some are there because they were at the wedding feast, some are there to judge for themselves if he could possibly be a new prophet or even the Messiah, and some are there because they need his help, and are ready to beg.   

Begging. Most of us see ‘begging’ as a way of life, dare I say, for losers. I see or hear the word begging and immediately think someone is asking for money. I equate begging with poverty, with a person unwilling to work. In my world, neither I nor my friends would be caught dead begging anyone for anything. And though we do tithe for ‘the less fortunate’ and occasionally give to those begging for money at street corners and stop lights — it is easier to quickly drive by and ‘forget those beggars’ when we are driving — we have a tendency to ignore those begging. We don’t want to get their ‘filth’ on us. Yes, some beggars may be pretending to live in poverty, they may have made a profitable job out of easy begging. Yes, that may be true for some, but for me to view begging in this manner is shameful and ignorant. 

After all, I too, am a beggar. I would beg for my child, and I beg God for things all the time. I pray repetitiously, sometimes with utter joy and sometimes with a weeping heart. I constantly beg of and to God, just like this man begging Jesus to save his son, or the homeless on the street. In prayer, I beg for tiny things, and for miracles. 

Luke 6:30 says, “Give to everyone who begs from you….”. My initial response is, ‘if I had enough money I would…”, but in contemplative prayer, it suddenly hit me that people beg for things other than money, and most of us beg without words. We beg with our eyes, our body language, our phrasing. And if I am not present to the moment, if I am too wrapped up in my own words and wants, I will not ‘hear’ them and I won’t be able to be like Jesus. How many times have I overlooked – ignored – another human being in need, possibly just in need of being acknowledged? When God puts, allows, another to be in my presence, shouldn’t I be paying attention? 

As we walk through this last week before Holy Week, I am begging God to remind me to pay attention so that I see any and everyone begging in my path. I want to be present to the moment and respond as a follower of Jesus. I want to be one who doesn’t just believe in Jesus, but one who TRUSTS Jesus; and that is only evident in the way I act and respond to those He has on my path.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Gina Ulicny)

Prayer:  Father God, how easy it is to be so involved in our own life that we either don’t see, or choose to ignore, those you have placed in our path who are silently begging for grace, warmth, compassion, begging for You through us.

Thanksgiving:  Thank you Father God, for Your grace and love at our begging prayers. Thank You for this time of Lent.  This time to contemplate and make the time to be quiet so that we can hear You.

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