Lenten Gospel Reflections, Day 27: Acceptance of Love

During this season of Lent, I will be working through Bishop Robert Barron’s Lenten Gospel Reflections (available through Word on Fire). Each day, I will share the readings and the reflection question, followed by my own thoughts.

March 28, 2022

At that time Jesus left Samaria and departed to Galilee.
44 For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. 45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast, for they too had gone to the feast. 46 So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 Jesus therefore said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” 49 The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went his way. 51 As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was living. 52 So he asked them the hour when he began to mend, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 53 The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live”; and he himself believed, and all his household. 54 This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.

The Holy Bible (Revised Standard Version; Second Catholic Edition, Jn 4:43–54). (2006). Ignatius Press.

How do you make yourself open to the healing love of God, which is constantly seeking you? What is necessary before anyone can accept God’s love?

I think that to open ourselves to the healing love of God, we need to build a relationship with God. If we have a false image of God, we won’t know Him for who He truly is; if we don’t know Him for who He is, we won’t be able to fully open ourselves to His love, since we won’t know what His love is or isn’t. I am convinced that an affirmation of Penal Substitutionary Atonement limits our ability to recognize God’s love. The moment that I was able to recognize Christ’s death on the cross as a loving sacrifice rather than an unjust punishment was the moment that some very old walls in my heart began to crumble.

Before we can accept God’s love, though, God must by His grace awaken our hearts and make us alive (Ephesians 2:1) so that we can respond to His love, for our salvation is granted only by God’s grace, through faith (Ephesians 2:8). There is nothing that we can do to deserve salvation. As Paul writes, salvation “is not your own doing, it is the gift of God – not because of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Lord, let us come to know You and love You as You truly are. Tear down the counterfeits in our hearts. Tear down the idols. Burn away all of the impurities, leaving only You.


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