“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” (St Augustine of Hippo). In each of us, we have an unquenchable thirst and we spend much of our lives in search of something to quench it.
God our Father’s message in today’s readings is this: Come to me and I will quench your thirst.
We see this in the second reading where St James teaches that the Word “has been planted in you” (James 1:21). The Word St James is referring to is none other than the Word of God. This Word is also Jesus Himself, the Word incarnate, as pointed out in the Gospel of John “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). This means that Jesus has been planted in our hearts and because of that, there is a desire to search for and learn more about this person of Jesus, whether we know it or not.
What then does Jesus do in today’s first reading? He extends an invitation. He says “‘Come’…let all who are thirsty come; all who want it may have the water of life, and have it free.” (Revelation 22:17). This invitation to those who are thirsty applies to everyone because we are all thirsty – thirsty to be happy and live our lives to the fullest. Jesus promises to quench our thirst with the water of life and He promises that “whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).
What then does quenching our thirst with God comprise of? Simply this: to deepen our relationship with God and to become more like Him. To some, the idea of becoming a child of God is something that does not relate: “It is not me” they say. To others, it is impossible. Yet, to become like God is to be who we really are, for “God created mankind in his image” (Genesis 1:27).
Today’s readings point out to us ways we can become more a child of God.
First, we must “be quick to listen but slow to speak and slow to rouse your temper” (James 1:19) for “Merciful and gracious is the Lord, slow to anger, abounding in mercy.” (Psalm 103:8). This means that in our daily lives, our approach towards others should lean towards truly listening and contemplating what they are trying to tell us, responding with lesser pride and greater love.
Second, we must “do away with all the impurities and bad habits that are still left in you” (James 1:21) for “Blessed are the pure in heart: they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8). Every day, we struggle and fight to get rid of the bad habits and behaviour that we carry forward from days past. We must work with unceasing hope and perseverance that one day, we will see God’s true face.
Third, we must “do what the word tells you, and not just listen to it and deceive yourselves” (James 1:22) for “blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it” (Luke 11:28). The Word of God is our one source of truth when contemplating faith and morality, inspired and granted by God Himself. We need to listen, study and live out the teachings that we have been graced with in our everyday lives.
Last, we need to have faith and obedience like Mary when she said “I am the handmaid of the Lord…let what you have said be done to me” (Luke 1:38). In our daily lives, we must commit ourselves and the work of our hands to the glory of God. Say to the Lord: “Let thy will be done onto me”. Let us always remember that we are never alone in hardship and difficulty, working with and working for the Lord.
Jordan & Theodore