5th Sunday of Lent – Mar. 26, 2023

5th Sunday of Lent – Mar. 26, 2023

5LA23.   Ezekiel 37:12-14.  The Lord here is prophesying the resurrection of Israel from its captivity in Babylonia.  The Church wants us to transfer the original intent of this passage so that we can apply it to ourselves personally.  The Lord said: “I will put my spirit in you that you may live” beyond having life in just a natural and worldly way.  “Thus you shall know that I am the Lord.”

John 11:1-45.  In John 9:3 Jesus says concerning the man born blind: “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.”  Likewise in John 11:4b, Jesus, only goes to Lazarus after Lazarus has been dead four days so that he could bring him back from death to life “for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”  Also Jesus said in John 11:14b-15a: “Lazarus has died. And I am glad for you that I was not there, that you may believe.”  In the first case of blindness and in the second case of death Jesus uses those occasions to work great miracles to give glory to God and to show that he was the Messiah “that you may believe.”  Jesus said right before raising Lazarus, “Father, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me.”  “Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him.”

Romans 8:8-11.  “If the Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the One who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit dwelling in you.”  Belief in Jesus that leads to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit gives us the spiritual life, even while we are here on earth.  It is a resurrection from living just an earthly life while we are here on earth, living a life beyond what this earth can give us.

5th Sunday of Lent – 2020

5LA20.    Ezekiel 37:12-14.  The Hebrew people had been taken away into captivity by the Babylonians but now they are released.  Now through Ezekiel the Lord God speaks who raises up his people from the world of their captivity that was like a grave for them.  God gives them renewed life by returning them to their own land.  The Church gives us this reading as a way to prefigure Jesus’ own death and resurrection that will raise us who were dead because of sin but now have a resurrection to new life because Jesus has redeemed us from our captivity to sin.

John 11:1-45.   When Jesus heard that Lazarus, whom Jesus loved dearly, was ill, “He said, ‘This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’”  He did not go immediately but “remained in the place where he was for two days.”  Then Jesus said, “Let us go back to Judea.”  Then his disciples warned him that the Jewish authorities were ready to kill him if he returned.   Jesus says in his own mystical way that the light of the world was with him, which is to say he knew that he was doing what God the Father wanted of him.  In last week’s gospel Jesus said the illness happened “so that the works of God might be made visible through him.”  Jesus again asserts that here Lazarus’ illness was deliberately allowed to progress to death so that the works of God might be made visible.  Thomas, ever-the-down-to-earth realist, says that, in returning now to Judea, death awaits them there. In Bethany Jesus meets Martha who is clearly disappointed that Jesus did not return to cure her brother but instead let him die.  Despite her disappointment in Jesus, Martha says, “I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” Next Mary came expressing that same disappointment with Jesus, saying, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  Jesus, in his humanity, was deeply troubled and wept that he had to let Martha and Mary suffer such great pain in the death of their brother.  When Jesus came to the cave where Lazarus was entombed, he had the stone taken away.  Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.”  “Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God.’”  Then Jesus, speaking to God the Father, said, “Because of the crowd here I have said,” “that you always hear me,” “that they may believe that you sent me.”  Then Jesus cried out, “Lazarus, come out,” and Lazarus who was dead for four days, “came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands.”  The Jewish people, who saw “what he had done, began to believe in him.”  The glory of God was plainly visible to all.  Jesus was without a doubt the Messiah, the Christ.  The pain of death became the joy of the resurrection.  In Lazarus’ death and resurrection, Jesus was prophesying his own death and resurrection.  John 11:47-48 reads, “So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, ‘What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs.  If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation,” which is to say the chief priests and the Pharisees wound lose their authority to the Romans or to Jesus.  No thought was given to the fact that (John 9:16b) a sinful man cannot do such signs nor (John 9:31-32) that God only listens to a man who is devout and obedient so that he could open the eyes of a man born blind in last Sunday’s gospel.  The chief priests and the Pharisees were blinded by their desire to keep their authority and all the privileges that went with it. So they plotted to kill Jesus who was far more popular with the people than with the chief priests.

Romans 8:8-11.  “Brothers and Sisters: Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells within.”  We must understand the term ’flesh’.  Genesis 1:26-27 says God created man in his divine image and Genesis 2:7 says, “The Lord God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostril the breath of life.”  John 1:14a reads: “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”  Luke 2:6 says:  “While they were there, the time came for her to have her child,”Jesus, who is God made flesh while still remaining God.  Flesh in itself is not bad because flesh was made by God and God saw that it was good.   What is bad is that we allow ourselves to be ruled by our flesh so that we become slaves of our flesh. Our spirit, which is God’s life within us, ought to rule us instead.  Biology, the science of physical living things, lists us as homo sapiens, that is the human animal.  God sees us, if we choose to belong to God, as his sons or daughters.  Our life is a choice we live daily.  Do we choose to be just an animal of this world, living in the flesh and not in the spirit; OR do we live daily as a son or daughter of God?

5th Sunday of Lent – 2017

L5A.  Ezekiel 37:12-14.  “Thus says the Lord God: O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them.” “O my people!  I will put my spirit in you that you may live.”  Where there is death, natural or spiritual from sin, God gives life.  “I will do it, says the Lord.”  Our God is very much alive, active and present in our lives.

John 11:1-45.  “This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”  Remember when Jesus said of the blind man last Sunday, “it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.”  Jesus gave sight to the blind man and now resurrects Lazarus so to give glory to Jesus and to bring people to believe in him.  “Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him.”

Look how fully human Jesus is in his humanity that he weeps at the death of Lazarus and is so deeply perturbed and troubled throughout the whole scene of his dealing with the death of Lazarus.  How much Jesus loves!  He loves each one of us as he loved Lazarus.  Our God is not a sin tabulating machine, but a loving brother; a diligent, caring Father.

“Jesus told Mary, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ (Messiah), the Son of God.” For Lazarus, Jesus is the resurrection and the life.  Jesus fulfills God’s prophecy in Ezekiel.  Jesus makes it clear that a person can die physically but still will live forever spiritually in heaven if one believes that Jesus is the One who can raise us from the dead because he is Messiah and God.

After Jesus decided to go to Bethany, which is close to Jerusalem, to be there for Mary, Martha and the deceased Lazarus,  “the disciples said to Jesus, “Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, and you want to go back there?”  Jesus not only wants to resurrect Lazarus to give glory to God and to promote belief in him as God the Savior but also soon afterwards, to offer himself on the cross for our redemption, the reason why he came into this world.  After Jesus says, “’Let us go to him (Lazarus).’  So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, ‘Let us also go to die with him’”.  Jesus sends a strong message with the death and resurrection of Lazarus as to his own imminent death and resurrection.  The power of God conquers sin and death.  The victory belongs to God and to those who entrust themselves to him.

Romans 8:8-11.  “Brothers and Sisters: Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.  But you are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.  Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”  If someone is ‘in the flesh’, they follow what their flesh tells them to do, i. e. they obey the desires that come to them through the flesh or they belong to the desires of the flesh.  The Spirit of God dwells or lives in those who are baptized or invite the Spirit into their lives.  The Spirit gives us the desire to please God and leads us to reject the desires of the flesh.  He leads us to belong to God and to nothing else.  Those who belong to the Spirit live righteous lives that are in accord with God’s will for us.  The Spirit of God will then raise our dead bodies to eternal life.

4th Sunday of Lent – Mar. 19, 2023

4LA23.   1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a.  “Samuel looked at Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed is here before him.’ But the Lord said to Samuel: ‘Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him.  Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart.’”  Who we are at the core of our being is what really matters.  It is natural to desire to present an appearance of ourselves that makes a good impression and so to gain the favor of those around us.  What we should be working on throughout all of our lives is to be pleasing to the Lord who sees what we are really all about and whose judgment of us is all that counts for anything of real value.  After David was anointed by Samuel, “the spirit of the Lord rushed upon David,” which is to say, God established a mighty presence in him to make of him the spectacular person he was to become in Hebrew history.  At our baptism the Holy Spirit establishes within us a lifelong residence to make a saint of us.

John 9:1-41.   In his gospel John finds a way to speak of the spiritual by paralleling or making it analogous  to the physical.  Here Jesus chooses to cure a man’s physical blindness so to open the eyes of his soul to see the spiritual light that is Jesus.  In contrast the Pharisees who have the physical capacity to see choose to remain spiritually blind.

Ephesians 5:8-14.  Paul wrote: “Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.  Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.”  In today’s gospel reading Jesus says, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”  Jesus through the Holy Spirit enlightens us to eternal reality or truth.  Sin is a distortion of reality or truth that deludes us into thinking that what is bad or evil is desirable or good for us at the moment.  Jesus helps us to keep our heart’s and mind’s vision clear.  To live in darkness is to live with the desire to please our bodies, the world and the devil and not the Lord.

4th Sunday of Lent – 2020

4L20.    1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a.   The Lord was ready to choose his king over Israel.  Samuel looked at Jesse’s first son, Eliab “and thought, ‘Surely, the Lord’s anointed is here before him.’” “But the Lord said to Samuel,” “Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart.”  David, the last of the sons who was left out tending sheep, was brought in before God who “said, ‘There—anoint him, for this is the one!’”  Human sight is infinitely limited because our human vision cannot see the fullness of the truth, of reality.  We can so easily think that what we see is all there is.  That is the lie the devil nourishes within us.  God does not have our human limitations.

John 9:1-41.   The people of Jesus’ times thought that any bodily deformity or defect was the result of our sin or that of generations before us.  When questioned, “Jesus answered, ‘Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.’”  Our physical, mental or emotional difficulties require that we go to God for help rather than depend on ourselves.  What we lack can make us all the richer, impelling us to fill  what is lacking in ourselves by sending us to the one who lacks in nothing that is good, our loving God.  Jesus is the light of the world, since in his light God, the Father is made visible.

When Jesus saw a man born blind, “he spat on the ground and made clay from his saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes.”  The blind man went and washed, and came back able to see.”  Genesis 2:9 reads: “Out of the ground the Lord God made various trees grow that were delightful to look at and good for food.”  The Lord made the ground and it was good.  Out of that same goodness that is the earth, he still makes and does many good things. The blind man washed and was able to see.

The Pharisees refused to see the goodness of God in Jesus.  If they did, they would have had to surrender their authority to God and have lost some of the earthly goods they were obtaining by their making of themselves the supreme authority on earth.  “Then Jesus said, ‘I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.’” The ways of this world that are self-service but not giving service to God are the ways by which we blind ourselves to the ultimate truth that is God.  By whose authority do we claim to assert the things we think and say are true: by God’s or by ours?

Ephesians 5:8-14.  “You were once darkness, but now you are in the light of the Lord.”  Jesus who is the light makes us ambassadors of the light.  He who ascended now commissions us through the Holy Spirit to bring his light to the world. “Live as children of the light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.”  Darkness swallows us up and renders us lost in a material body that cannot see in the truth of eternal life.  If we continue to live in the coffin that is the devil, we will be in eternal darkness.  Jesus is the sunlight of eternal happiness.  Reality is eternal truth; the lie can be gratifying for the moment, since enables us to invent a world that is pleasing to us. It is so easy to be fooled.  What feels so good is all too inviting. We must deal with the truth or reality as it is and not what we wish it to be. It was not easy for Jesus on the cross; and nor for us with our feet planted on the ground of the real world. The Holy Spirit strengths us.  It is not easy because the darkness of this world and the devil can be so deceptively convincing and leave us lost in the darkness forever.  The Holy Spirit brings us the life of Christ.  Only he is the truth and the light.  All else is darkness and deception. Remain with him; his eternal victory is always ours!

4th Sunday of Lent – 2017

L4A – Laetare Sunday.  1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a.  In the choice of one of Jesse’s sons to be the Lord’s anointed, the Lord rejects all but the youngest who was left out of the selection process by being chosen, perhaps by Jesse the father, to stay in the fields to tend the sheep.  The Lord says to Samuel, “Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart.”  God sees differently than man sees.  Please think back to Peter’s testimony that Jesus is the Messiah.  Next Jesus says that he must suffer greatly, be killed and rise after three days.  Peter then rebukes Jesus.  Peter, as well as the other disciples, have the commonly held notion that the Messiah is to be a warrior king who will lead the Jews to drive the Roman occupiers out.  Mark 8:27-33(as well as Matthew 16:13-23) then continues, “At this Jesus turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.’”  The challenge for us is to plead daily with the Holy Spirit to think as God does even we are still human.                                                                          John 9:1-41.  The common presumption among the Jews in those days was that physical disabilities resulted from sin in the family or on the part of the individual.   “Jesus answered, ‘Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.’”  Although it says in Genesis that God made the world good, it does not say that God made the world perfect.  If this world were perfect, God would not have place the tree of the knowledge of good and bad in the Garden of Eden.  I believe that this world has its imperfections so that we need to go to God to make our situations here better or to help us make it better.

Throughout the gospel narrative the Jewish authorities seek a way to disqualify the cure of the blind man as a miracle; otherwise they would have to accept Jesus to be the Messiah or a prophet.  The cured man states the obvious, “If this man were not from God, he would not be able to do anything.” However, “they answered and said to him, “You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?”  This is what is called a ‘non sequitur’.  Whether the blind man was born in sin or not, does not bear on the goodness of Jesus action.  They have made themselves morally blind to the truth of Jesus as the Messiah.  They have chosen to wander around in the darkness of denial.

“When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, ‘Do you believe in the son of Man? He answered and said, ‘Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him? Jesus said to him, ‘You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.’  He said, ‘I do believe, Lord,’ and he worshiped him.  Then Jesus said, ‘I came into the world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.’” I believe that what Jesus is saying is that he  is the light of salvation to those who recognize that they are blind, i.e., that have not been seeing the truth because they have been living without the light that is Jesus, and those who think that they, without the help of God, know the truth, i.e., that they see are wandering around in the darkness and so are blind to their refusal to see the truth.  Their blindness is a moral blindness, a refusal to open their hearts and minds to the light that is Jesus the Christ and so through him to know the truth.  “But now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.”  Jesus is saying you have the eyes to see the truth, i. e. the capability to understand the truth that Jesus is the Messiah who has given sight to the man blind from birth but you refuse to accept the truth because you do not want to accept Jesus as Messiah and so you have made yourselves blind to the truth.

Ephesians 5:8-14.  “Brother and sisters: You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.  Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.”  To live in the light is to live in the Lord daily.  It is quite natural to want to do our own will.  In order to do what we want, it is the world’s way for us to call what we want to do ‘the right thing’.  In this way we order our lives through self-delusion and self-deception, which is darkness, so that we may choose to perceive ourselves as doing ‘the right thing’.  We do not realize that we have made ourselves blind to the light that is Christ.  It is all too easy and attractive to live in our own little world and feel good about ourselves, until the roof that is reality or truth caves in on us.  Only God’s will is ‘the right thing.’  Life that is lived independent from God, in which we have made ourselves, or something or someone who is not God, into a god is self-deception, self-delusion or moral blindness.  Moral blindness is the normal worldly way to live.  We can all too often feel right at home with so many others who do the same.  Choose life!  Let us choose the Lord to be our life!  Everything else is death!

3rd Sunday of Lent – Mar. 12, 2023

3LA23.   Exodus 17:3-7.   “The people grumbled against Moses, saying, “Why did you ever make us leave Egypt?”  The Israelites forgot the pain that they suffered under slavery to the Egyptians and, with the deprivations they were suffering in the desert, only remembered the few good things they once had in Egypt.  Sin can be delightful to our bodies and to our worldly spirit, leaving us mindless to the total destruction to which it is leading us.  When the Israelites saw the water flowing from the rock, they said, “Is the Lord in our midst or not?”  Occasionally the Lord does do spectacular things so to make clear his presence in a disbelieving world but for the most part we ought to have the faith that perceives his presence in everyday small things.

John 4:5-42.    Jesus said to the Samaritan woman, “The hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.”  Jesus was declaring that the Old Testament Law or Torah was dead.  “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth.”  Jesus was saying that, instead of God being present in the writing on a scroll, he will be present in the divine presence of the Holy Spirit and of the truth, the reality of God’s eternal design for us to guide us to heaven.  Jesus, in his humanity, was intensely immersed in the Holy Spirit when he said, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work.”  To live in the life that the Holy Spirit is breathing into us is the fruit of what God and we, as his co-workers, sow.

Romans 5:1-2, 5-6.  St. Paul wrote, “And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” How do we know that God loves us?  “God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”

3rd Sunday of Lent – 2020

3L20.   “In those days, in their thirst for water, the people grumbled against Moses.” “The place was called Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled there and tested the Lord, saying, ‘Is the Lord in our midst or not?’” Obviously, the Israelites were experiencing something of a lack of water and so they complained about not having an adequate supply of water.  In effect they were demanding that God miraculously supply the water.  In effect they were testing God to prove that he was with them and truly cared for his People.  It was then and still considered sacrilegious to demand that the Almighty must do what human beings tell him to do. This event was remembered often later to show the hard-heartedness and doubt that the Israelites had at times, despite the fact that the Lord had often show his goodness to his People.

John 4:5-42.   Jesus, tired because of his long journey, stopped to rest at the well that Jacob, long ago had given to his son Joseph.  The water from the well which God had given to Jacob to sustain human life is now superseded in importance by the grace that gives spiritual life that is given by Jesus, who sits at the same well.  John’s gospel often relates two levels of thought at the same time: the first, simply the plot of an ordinary event, such as just Jesus setting at a well; the second, a lesson with a deep spiritual meaning, such as Jesus is now the one who is giving the water or grace of eternal spiritual life which is infinitely more important than the water that sustains physical life.  This sinful woman does not dare draw water in the cool of the morning because the other women that draw water then would mock her for her sinfulness.  So she comes at noon in the high heat of the day to avoid them.  Her thirst for ‘the living water’ is even greater because of her sinfulness.  Jesus clearly reveals himself to be the Messiah, the Christ.  Jesus speaks on that deeper level of meaning, when his disciples try to get him to eat physical, saying, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work.”  Next he speaks of the one who sows the seed of faith, the sower and secondly, the reaper, who gathers the crops for eternal life, i.e. the people who have grown spiritually, who are ready to receive the rewards of eternal life.  Jesus then sows the seed of eternal life by preaching to the Samaritans “who began to believe in him because of his word.”

Romans 5:1-2, 5-8.  Jesus says, “Through our Lord Jesus Christ” “we have gained access by faith” to the grace of “peace with God” that gives us “hope in the glory of God.”  “And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” “God proves his love for us in that while we still sinners Christ died for us.”  The water that gives us grace, a share in his divine life, is the love that God has for us.  Jesus dwells in us giving us his love, his life to us so that daily we grow in him.

3rd Sunday of Lent – 2017

3LA.  Exodus 17:3-7.  The Lord said, “Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it for the people to drink.”  The Church gives us this reading as a preface, prelude to the gospel of ‘living water’.  God provides us with the water that we need to quench our thirst, but what is it we decide to thirst for: what this world tells us we must thirst for or the thirst for eternal purpose and meaning, i.e. the eternal love that God has for us.  The people whom God led out of servitude to the Egyptians did not know much more than the material world.  During their forty years in the desert God wanted them to come to know much more than this physical world, that they ought to choose belong to something greater than to a day to day material world.

John 4:5-42.  “Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well.  It was about noon.” His exhaustion shows that he was truly human, as well as divine.  “A woman of Samaria came to draw water.  Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” She was quite surprised because a Jew of Jerusalem Judaism would never address a woman of the Samaritan Jewish faith community, nor would a man of that middle-Eastern world ever speak to a woman who was not a part of his extended family.  The Holy Spirit was moving Jesus to take advantage of this opportunity to bring this woman to faith in the Messiah.  Jesus answered her question, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would asked him and he would have given you living water.”  She is lost as to his answer and questions him, “Where can you get this living water?”  He responds, “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.”  The spiritual water Jesus is promising is the grace that leads to the eternal life of heaven but she is still thinking of the physical water she needs to live from day to day.  Jesus reveals his messianic power to her when he reveals his divine capacity to know her past and so she runs off to the village to tell of the one who seems to her to be the Messiah.  Also,Jesus reveals to her, and to us all, that he has not come to establish a new Judaic sect but an entirely new religion when he says, “the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem,” but when “true worshipers (of the one true God) will worship the Father in Spirit and truth.” “God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.” Spirit is the God who is infinitely greater than this world of physical things that will eventually pass away.  Truth speaks of the reality that God is infinitely greater than anything we humans can imagine because our thinking is hemmed in by the world we live in, and even by this spectacular God-created universe, that is itself so infinitesimal in relation to the God who is infinitely greater and more awesome than anything he has created.

After the disciples urge him to eat, “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work.’” Jesus was hungry to do what the Father wanted him to do, bring all people of good will to heaven, to worship the God who loves us all so dearly.  Jesus says, “I sent you to reap what you have not worked for; others have done this work, and you are sharing the fruits of their work.” Jesus sent them (& sends us) to bring people to God in heaven.

The Samaritans there say to the woman, “We have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.” In spite of her sinfulness but because of her simplicity and sincerity, she brought many to Christ.

Romans 5:1-2, 5-8.  “Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Peace is that unity with God that gives a sense of security for eternity and a fullness of life that assures us we have the true source of inexhaustible goodness that is always available to us.  “And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” The love of God, a share in the divine life of God has been the grace poured out into us through the Holy Spirit.  “But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”  God’s motivation for his love was not that we had done anything to deserve his love but that his nature is love so that out of who he is he loved in spite of the fact that we did not deserve it.



2nd Sunday of Lent – Mar. 5, 2023

2LA23.    Genesis 12:1-4a.  “The Lord said to Abram: ‘Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.’  ‘I will make of you a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great.”  “Abram went as the Lord directed him.”  God was commanding Abram to leave his home land, what was comfortable, secure and familiar to make a new life totally dependent on the God in whom he put his whole trust.  He was leaving all that he had in hand for something completely unknown and unimaginable solely on the word of his God.

Psalm 33: 20, 22.   “Our soul waits for the Lord, who is our help and our shield.  May your kindness, O Lord be upon us who have put our hope in you.”

Matthew 17: 1-9.   In Matthew 16:20-23 Jesus tells his disciples that he is the Messiah and furthermore that he must suffer greatly, be killed and on the third day be raised.  Peter rejects that scenario for Jesus; but Jesus rebukes Peter for thinking as human beings think.  The transfiguration takes place soon afterwards in order to assert undeniably the Messiahship and divinity of Jesus.  The presence of Moses and Elijah declares that what God had begun in the Hebrew People was coming to fulfillment in the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus.  God the Father was telling Peter to think as God thinks, since now God’s voice makes known to Peter what God knows, that Jesus is his beloved Son.

2 Timothy 1:8b-10.   “Beloved: Bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God. He saved us and called us to a holy life.”  We live out our call to holiness in a world that generally rejects the invisible and the spiritual as not being genuinely real.  This requires that we live and act in the strength that only our God possesses and readily makes available to us.  What is visible and material passes away; what is invisible and spiritual lives forever.