‘By myself I can do nothing.’


I shall not forget you. I have engraved you on the palm of my hand.’

Isaiah’s prayer is for all of us, but I would love those heartfelt words to reach those who are struggling, whose lives seem devoid of hope and possibility.

Our Lenten journey is a time to remember the “desert” times of our lives – the times when we suffered, nothing made sense, and God seemed distant and uncaring. Who were the people that helped you find sustenance? What circumstances forced you to dig deeply into the well of your experience to find the refreshing spring waters of life? When did you start noticing the green shoots of hope in the small deeds of love and care of those around you?

In the gospel, Jesus shows Himself to be the humble servant of God. ‘By myself I can do nothing.’ In everything, Jesus serves as our example. Here especially He shows us clearly what is expected. We all need to seek to do the will of the One who has sent us all into the world.

What is that work? Principally, we are sent just as Jesus was, as a clear sign of God’s all-encompassing love. We are to be, for each person we meet, a sign of the acceptance and completely unconditional love that God has for each of His children. And God loves us as though we were each an only child.

Our best work is done when it is not our work but the work of God who sent us. When we are about His work, we are following the example of Jesus. We learn day by day how to do the Father’s will.


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