This is a shortened version of my homily for this evening: Wednesday in the 4th week of Lent.
O Lord our God, you sustained your ancient people in the wilderness with bread from heaven: Feed now your pilgrim flock with the food that endures to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
- Isaiah 49:8-15… God will keep his covenant, feeding & saving his people.
- Psalm 145:8-19… God gives all their food in due season.
- John 5:19-29… The Father gives all to the Son, especially life & judgment.
The Collect, the reading from Isaiah, and the Psalm all speak of God feeding and caring for his people. This is beautiful and profound, but can never be thought to be the whole story. Virtually every religion claims a deity that looks after its followers. The critical piece that we must realize is that the invisible Creator God is now operating through his Son, Jesus. The Gospel reading proclaims that the invisible Father has given all things to his visible Son, in particular we read of life and judgment.
It is a popular saying today that “we all worship the same God.” But when Jesus says the invisible creator – The Father – has given all things to the Son, it means that if we are really to worship the Father, we are to worship Jesus as God also. Therefore, any religion that does not worship Jesus, even the so-called “Abrahammic faiths” of Islam and Judaism, is a false religion.
Therefore, if you seek food, sustenance, life, and salvation from God, seek it from Jesus; the Father has entrusted such things to him. Additionally, this is why it’s so critical to remember that Holy Communion is the Body of Christ. God the Father inherently has life within himself, as does the Son. Thus when we receive his Body sacramentally, we receive life itself. So, when Jesus says in the very next chapter, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever,” he really means it. He has life in himself; therefore when we participate in the heavenly banquet in which he is the sacrificial lamb, we receive the very stuff of eternal life.
Just remember that it is Jesus, only, who makes this possible. No other approach to God can give us life. If we see the Son, we see the Father; if we see Christ, we see God.