According to the Gospel of John, the first question Jesus asked when He began His ministry was “What are you looking for?” (John 1:38). After Jesus died and resurrected, He said to Mary of Magdala, who was looking for Him in the tomb, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” (John 20:15) These two questions of Jesus echo in history and in our lives.
Indeed, life is a “journey of searching” – searching for something, searching for someone.
Many people may not be able to find what they are looking for all their lives, because they searched in the wrong places; some people kept going in circles, and some people stopped searching for various reasons. As Jesus matured, He also continued to seek and discover His own identity and direction, and in the process, He was guided and affirmed by the Father and the Holy Spirit. The person whom Jesus was searching for was the Father, and what He was looking for was to “do the will of the Father.” This is the anchor in the life of Jesus. All of Jesus’ other desires were based on it.
Jesus’ complete trust in the Heavenly Father enabled Him to give Himself unreservedly, never questioning His Father, let alone doubting the Heavenly Father’s arrangement. He loved His Heavenly Father to the end, and followed the Father to the end. This became the cornerstone of the life of Jesus.
On the last day of this Lenten retreat, we hope this year’s theme of “I Thirst” will give everyone an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of life and find a way to “quench our thirst” in the Lord. You may wonder, what is the ultimate goal we hope to achieve? You might want to ask yourself: what kind of person do I want to be?
The journey of searching in life will not end, but there will be some clear signs that let us know we are moving in the right direction. This is the first line that Jesus said to His disciples and us after His resurrection: “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19) This peace is the greatest sign.
With Jesus and His peace as our companions on our journey of searching, our direction in our lives will become clearer, even if life is bumpy and challenging, we will still experience the state that St. Augustine longed for:
“Lord, our heart will be restless until it rests in You.” The thirst for feeling settled, at peace and at rest in the Lord becomes our goal and pillar, constantly giving us strength and perseverance,
making us like the Samaritan woman who finally encountered Christ at the well and gained an unprecedented release and freedom. This healing from Jesus allows us to accept and embrace the imperfections in our lives — weaknesses, powerlessness, trauma, brokenness, guilt, unforgiveness, anxiety…— those bonds that haunt us in the past, present, and future.
Jesus wants to unbind us personally, so that we can leap out of the valley of life like the Samaritan woman, and be able to face ourselves, face God and all the people around us, and be supernaturally empowered and willing to be a witness of our encounter with Christ and His goodness, and not be afraid to reveal our past to others and become a new creation.
Our past and all our present weaknesses have become the most powerful tools to witness for God.
Those who see our witness will be like the Samaritans in the Bible, who became open to establishing a relationship with Jesus because of the woman’s testimony. Isn’t that a goal we aspire to?
At that time, what we need to hold on to in our lives is no longer wealth, fame, achievement, or even our own talents and abilities, but like what St. Paul the Apostle said in chapter 12 in his Second Letter to the Corinthians. When facing his own weakness, God said to him:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore, Paul was willing to boast of his weakness, not his power, so that the power of Christ may be manifested in him (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
To be able to boast of our weaknesses for God and in Him is the greatest freedom in our lives as followers of Christ.
Just like the example set by Jesus for us, His life was never to accumulate things that were beneficial to Him, but to constantly let go of them, and at the very end, on the cross, He gave up everything He possessed in His body, mind and spirit. He had nothing, but the power of the Father in heaven to rely on. United with His Heavenly Father, Jesus had everything and could accomplish everything!
Our Lord Jesus is the perfect reflection of the Father and our perfect example. Jesus wants us to follow Him without holding back and not to waste the new life He redeemed for us by His most holy blood on unimportant things that we cannot bring into eternal life.
The first of the two missions that Jesus gave us is to love the brothers and sisters around us as He loves us, and to give without expecting anything in return, just like He did, in order to repay His love for us. Jesus earnestly hopes that each of us will be like the child in the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, and be willing to give what we have, even if it were only five loaves and two fishes.
Jesus wants to perform miracles through our small daily offerings, through which He remains with us always. Ultimately He wants us to build communities of love, like the early church, in our families, parishes, and societies so that more people will be attracted to come to know Him and receive salvation.
The second mission is to commission us, like the Samaritan woman, to constantly draw living water from our Lord Jesus, so as to gain strength to testify for God in our lives, no longer relying on our own ability, but relying on the power of the Father. Jesus hopes that we will imitate His spirit of “continuously letting go” as we carry out our two missions, in order to experience for ourselves the ease of fulfilling the mission in the Lord when we count on His power, as well as to regain the freedom that was lost due to our various attachments in the past!
Our Lord Jesus wants us to know that in the end when we leave this world, the only things we can take with us are those things we have given away unconditionally in our lives.
It is better to learn to let go and give rather than to busily spend our life satisfying our own desires.
We wish you not only to be an ambassador for Christ, but also the perfect reflection of Christ, His real and visible image!
Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for allowing me to re-examine all the desires in my life during this 40-day retreat, identifying which ones are the most important that are both in line with the Father’s will as well as lead me closer to Him, and those that do not. May Your Holy Spirit enlighten me and grant me wisdom so that my desires may be in line with those of You and the Father. Please give me a humble and docile heart willing to let go of everything that hinders me from loving You and following You unreservedly, and help me to accept all the plans and missions You have given me. Through my humble offering and reliance on the power of my Heavenly Father, I aspire to be an instrument of Your love and salvation, in order to quench Your thirst and that of the world! Lord Jesus, please make me a perfect image of You in the world!
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Thank you for participating in this 40-day Lenten spiritual journey, I Thirst. We hope you have been inspired and have benefitted from it! For the spiritual benefit of all of you, Fountain of Love and Life devotes a lot of time and effort in producing various spiritual projects every year, and all our ministries are sustained by the generous donations of our supporters. We hope you will support us with prayers and donations. Please make an online donation using the button at the top of the website Lent.FLL.cc. Thank you very much for your support. God bless!
The following is the “Farmer of Hearts: I Thirst” team, including FLL staff and volunteers.
Please kindly pray for them. May God protect them and sustain their physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
Project Manager: Michael Lam
Writer: Paul Yeung
Editors: Bonny Chan, Rosa Tse
English Translators: Bonny Chan, Sammy Ip, Zenia Lau
Cantonese Narrator: Margaret Woo
English Narrators: Bonny Chan, Sammy Ip
Mandarin Narrators: Anthony X. and team
Audio Editors: Arnold Chan, Fonte Ip, Sander Lee, Margaret Woo
YouTube Editors: Fonte Ip, Damaso Wong
Graphics: Francis Lai, Rosa Tse
Website: Angela Wong, Patricia Young
Podcast: Angela Wong
Social Media: Clara Chang, Yollie Leung, Carmen Tsang, Rosa Tse, Damaso Wong