It would seem that bad food eaten as a free person would always taste better than good food eaten as an enslaved person. But too often that is not the case. We long for the good old days even though we know they were not that good. There is some perverse compass within us that inclines us to go back to what we know rather than forward to what we can imagine. In fact, it seems that where we are is never as good as where we have been or where we are going. We can always find something wrong with what is and somehow blame God for it.
Today Jesus holds up a mirror and he asks us to take a look. The person we see in the mirror is the one who is responsible for the life God has given us. We are responsible for our actions. We can no longer be blamers. When the Scribes and Pharisees arrived on the scene, they were concentrating on the sins of the adulterous woman. But when they left they were now in touch with their own sins.
Fifth Sunday of Lent–
Jesus says, “I came that you may have life, and have it more abundantly. I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he should die, will live again; and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.” Irenaeus, one of the early Church Fathers said, “The glory of God is a person fully alive.” Paul said, “Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” “And so, Lord, unbind us from all that keeps us in our tombs and let us move o that we might all be fully alive in you.”
I recall a prayer of Jesus in which he thanked the Father for having hidden certain truths from the learned and the clever revealing them instead to mere children. If God was doing that kind of thing 2000 years ago, it occurs to me that he may still be doing that today. Let us approach all of life with open minds knowing that God moves in mysterious ways and his wisdom sometimes comes from surprising sources.
Jesus did not fit their expectations of who the Messiah would be. They expected a king who would come in great glory. But Jesus came as a servant. Yet the question persists to this day and even for us believers: Who is this Jesus and what does he mean to me? We too are just as likely to look in the wrong places for Jesus. We tend to think he is found only in places marked as holy, in cathedrals and in beautiful stained-glass chapels and churches. He is, however, just as likely to be found in an impoverished day care center or a food bank for the poor. Jesus is everywhere.
If we truly want to see the glory of God, a glory and praise that give life, we need to move downward with Jesus. We need to become aware of the glory that comes from God by helping the poor, by attending to the needs of those less fortunate than ourselves, by being more sensitive to the sick, the shut ins, those on the fringe of our society, the handicapped, the oppressed. They are the ones through whom God’s glory can manifest itself to us. They show us the way to God, the way to salvation.
The Annunciation of the Lord –
As followers of Jesus we have received the power of the Spirit. We have been anointed to carry the message of evangelizing, healing, freeing and bearing a message of hope to the world. We are the body of Jesus visible today. Do we have enough faith in ourselves to believe that all this is once again fulfilled in us each day? Do we believe in this fulfillment which we have all received?
The first essential need towards receiving the healing of Jesus is the intense desire for it. Jesus comes to us and says: “Do you really want to be changed?”If in our inmost hearts we are well content to stay as we are there can be no change for us. The desire for the gifts from God must be surging in our hearts.
St. Turibius of Magrovejo –
Anxieties and sorrows have the capacity to remind us of our need for God and to start us on a spiritual search. The result of such a quest has to be some amount of good. This is not to suggest that trouble, itself is good. To the contrary, it is essentially bad. But when we are going through it, let us try to remember this: Bad though it is, suffering does have its good side. It is often in the dark valley that we realize the Good Shepherd at our side.
Fourth Sunday of Lent –
Let us pray each day that we all have the courage to live the gospel by proclaiming through our lives what Jesus is doing in us. The man said,“I know this much: He is a prophet. I was blind. Now I can see.” Such is the simple, practical and convincing sermon of a life that has been changed by the power of God. We have all been touched by the power of God. Let us have the courage to proclaim it to the world by the way we live!