Isaiah 49:8-15; John 5:17-30
This is a long and complex passage from John's Gospel, but I think that we can say at least that it does have a central topic, namely the union of minds, hearts, and action of the Father and the Son. We might even consider these words to be a commentary by Jesus on those two lines from the "Our Father," "may Thy kingdom come, may Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven."
But because Jesus is reflecting on this topic, He not only offers answers, He opens vistas with parallels that don't actually parallel quite exactly and with comparisons that we can read in both directions. This calls for our own prayerful reflection on what He says, because only the Spirit can reveal the truth that lies behind these words.
And then there are questions: What does Jesus mean when He says that the Father will show the Son even greater works than these? How can there be change in the relationship between the eternal First and Second Persons of the Trinity?
And when Jesus says that the Father has "assigned all judgement to the Son" and "has given over to him power to pass judgement," when He says "My judgement is honest," how does that fit with John 8:15 and 12:47, where Jesus says that he does not judge? There is really no conflict between these statements but a difference of perspective which allows us to find a deeper understanding of the two seemingly opposed positions. Again, we need to go to prayerful reflection that is not based on our analysis but on letting the Father, the Son, and Blessed Spirit explain to us beyond words what Jesus means by all this.
Or we might note that the entire passage is about the Father and the Son, as Jesus puts it, and that it is only in the last lines that Jesus indicates that it is He Himself who is the Son.
The Father "sends" the Son, who looks to the Father for everything, but the whole thrust of John's Gospel is that Jesus sends us in the same way (John 20:21) so that we too can be as close to the Father as He is (John 14:3). Jesus is calling us to live in the same dependence on the Father, the same hope and love, that same free joy that so give Him johannine serenity, energy, and wisdom.
As Lent is starting to turn towards its close, let us hunger for this unity with the Father in a caring and generous following of Christ. Let us not yearn for the foods and satisfactions of this world but fast from them in order that the Spirit might fill us with what really nourishes us and lifts us up to the Father's embrace.
And let us turn in prayer to a passage like this, seeking not only a deeper understanding but also – and especially – this closer union with the Father which Jesus calls us to.
By Chas Kestermeier