Sunday, March 29, 2020 at 11:22 AM
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Reflections

FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT, March 29, 2020
[Ezekiel 37: 12-14; Romans 8: 8-11; John 11: 3-7, 17, 20-27, 33-45]

“I trust in the Lord; my soul trusts in His word.”

In these days of the COVID-19 outbreak, it seems difficult to trust in the Lord wholeheartedly.  Some have implied that this outbreak is due to our evil ways and God “getting back at us” for making poor choices.  Yet the readings today remind us that no one is spared from death on this earth.  We all physically will journey through it.  We do not know the time nor the hour.  Perhaps that increases the importance of the choices we do make today. 

Some people are thinking only of themselves during this time of self-quarantine and stay in door policies that have been instituted by the medical professionals and encouraged by local governments.  These individuals seem to “know better” than the professionals who do this for a living.  We are not being asked to follow these policies for punishment, but for our own lives and the lives of those around us.  We are all in this effort to protect life together.

Jesus says, “I am the Resurrection and the life…whoever believes in me, even if they die, will never die.”  Do we believe this?  Do we believe in the life of eternity?  Do we really trust in the Lord and His word?  This fifth Sunday of Lent reminds us that Jesus is the resurrection and the life.  The reflection of this week might be the challenge to hear Jesus calling us from our tombs of darkness and difficulties to “Come Out!” and live the life of the resurrection in the here and now…to be for one another through time, treasure, and talent…as much as we are able at this time.

 

FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT, March 22, 2020
[I Samuel 16:1, 6-7,10-13; Ephesians 5: 8-14; John 9: 1-41]

“Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil;
for you are at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage.”

During these days of the COVID-19 Virus, the words taken from Ps 23 seem appropriate.  These are dark times in a world of fear and anxiety for many.  Jesus, our good shepherd, says I am with you during these trials.  This journey truly is a test of faith.

We hear in the reading from Samuel that humans judge by appearances, but God looks into the heart.  God knows we are feeling many emotions during this virus outbreak.  God knows what our future holds and where our journey is going.  We need to trust that Christ truly is the light – the one who helps the blind to see in times of darkness. 

Together, let us “live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.”  May we pray for and help each other in our times of weakness and draw strength from our faith in Jesus, the good shepherd.

 

THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT, March 15, 2020
[Exodus 17: 3-7; Romans 5: 1-2, 5-8; John 4:5-15, 19-26, 39, 40-42]

“If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”

Just what could God have been thinking to miraculously free the Israelites from slavery in Egypt only to let Moses lead them into the desert to die of thirst!!??  “Is the Lord in our midst or not?”  Even after the Lord provides water out of a ROCK, of all things, the people still miss the miracle of water and that the Lord truly IS in their midst!  When we are thirsting and in need, do we miss the Lord’s miraculous presence in our own lives?  It sometimes feels better/is easier to grumble about what else we DON’T HAVE instead of what God HAS provided in our lives.  “If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”

In the Gospel today, we hear of the Samaritan woman and Jesus at the well.  There is one quote from this reading that is very appropriate for this Lenten season.  The townspeople tell the woman: “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know this is truly the savior of the world.”  What do we hear God calling us to in this day?  Through our Baptism and life-giving water, God has called us to be priest, prophet and king; to be evangelizers and witnesses to others through our gift of faith.  “Lord, give me living water, that I may never thirst again.”  May I bring true life to others, eventually bringing them to the waters of baptism.  “Lord, you are truly the Savior of the world; give me the living water that I may never thirst again.”

 

SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT, March 8, 2020
[Genesis 12: 1-4; II Timothy 1: 8-10; Matthew 17: 1-9]

“Abram went as the Lord directed him.”

In the First Reading, Abram is being asked by the Lord to leave his ties of origin behind him.  No questions asked.  Are we able to leave at a moment’s notice our family attachments, bonds, social status, inheritance, etc. and trust that God has a larger plan for us to begin anew?  What Faith!!   Psalm 33 tells us “Upright is the word of the Lord, and all His works are trustworthy.”  But still…are we ready to totally “Let Go and Let God”? 

We hear in the Second Reading that God has called us to a life of holiness.  It does not, however, come without its hardships.  Our salvation is not because of any profound works of ours, but because of the grace God has bestowed upon us. 

Abram was called out of his family of origin because God had a plan for him.  Peter, James, and John were chosen to witness the transfiguration of Jesus and to eventually share His Gospel message with others.  Today, Jesus invites us to look to Him for guidance and inspiration in our lives.  This Lenten Season is a time to reflect more deeply upon where Christ is directing us and to hear God the Father’s words spoken from the cloud, “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him.”  What do we hear?

 

 FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT, March 1, 2020
[Genesis 2: 7-9, 3: 1-7; Romans 5: 12-19; Matthew 4: 1-11]

“One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.”

Jesus faces the devil and temptations to show us the reality of living the truth and choosing to be who we are meant to be in the eyes of God.  Jesus faces three temptations. First, He refuses to produce bread from stones, just for Himself. We know Jesus produces many loaves of bread when it serves other people and is in line with the will of the Father.  Jesus faces the next temptation to throw Himself down from the temple, at the invitation of the devil: “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down…” These are the same words the thief addresses to Jesus on the cross.  In neither case did Jesus respond because it was not the Will of the Father for Him.  In the last temptation, Jesus refuses to ‘throw himself down’ again, this time to worship the devil.  We are taught by Jesus’ responses to continue to live in line with who we are in the sight of God.

In the First Reading, Eve is tempted by the devil, in the form of the serpent.  The process, psychology, of the devil is important.  The serpent says: “Did God tell you not to eat of any of the trees?” Eve could feel like she had the upper hand when she replied: “We can eat of all the trees, except the one in the middle.” The serpent plays on Eve’s pride in having the upper hand, in telling the truth.  Once again, to use modern terminology, the serpent counters with ‘Alternative Facts.’ The serpent tempts Eve in her condition on feeling superior and tells her they will be like gods, even though it is false and leads to evil.  The root of all sin can be seen in this encounter:  We think there is a better way for ourselves in not following the ways of being a creature of God. Lies, gossip, deceit etc. are the result of possibly making one feel superior.

 St.  Paul in the Second Reading reassures us of what we are learning in these readings: “For just as through the disobedience of Adam and Eve many were made sinners; so, through the obedience of Jesus the many will be righteous.”