Isaiah 49:8-15
John 5:17-30


The background to today’s Gospel reading is Christ’s healing a man of his 38-year-long disability by telling him simply to pick up his mat and walk.  The Jewish leaders are irate. How dare this man break their rules for Sabbath observance by inciting someone else to carry his mat! Their anger is intensified by his explanation that he is doing the work of the Father, making himself equal to God.

In the following long monologue, Christ seems to summarise the motivation behind everything he does.  It is in pursuance of the will of the One who sent him. 

Christ shows us how to be Kingdom people by seeking to discern the will of God in everything we do, just as he does. “I don’t seek my own will but the will of the One who sent me.”  Even doing the right things but for the wrong reasons or to attract the approval of others isn’t good enough. We are not like Christ if our motivations are self-serving.

We bring glory to God when we do what is right, in imitation of Christ, whose motivation is always to do the will of the Father, Christ, who has entered into our space to create a new world order, a new age, a promised hope.

That’s a Lenten challenge for us.

Brian Norman has been associated with the Passionists in various ways since he was three weeks old when he squared off with Fr Placid Millay CP over the baptismal font at St Brigid’s, Marrickville.