Fourth Sunday of Lent
Chronicles 36: 14-16, 19-23 Ephesians 2: 4-10 John 3: 14-21
For God so loved the world that the only Son was sent to us so that everyone who believes in Jesus might not perish but might have eternal life.
All journeys in life have a destination, and life itself will find us one day no longer on Earth’s highways. Fortunately, Jesus provided a GPS for all who follow Him that reassures us of a final destination that will be better than any we have experienced thus far.
In the 80’s several of our sisters ministered at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, a final stop on the road of life. The criteria for admission was a short life expectancy for those who could no longer benefit from cancer treatments. It was a blest time for all of us, as the Blauvelt Congregation had to abandon the mission in 1958 due to the lack of sisters available to provide staffing.
Calvary had a moniker: The vestibule of Heaven, and in my ten years of ministering as a Pastoral Associate, there was never a verbal expression from a dying patient that fear of Hell was a concern. Why? Perhaps it was because persons were treated with dignity as each specialty addressed the needs and desires of both the patient and their loved ones. The staff created an environment of what was to come, and a spirit of oneness permeated each unit.
If this could be a table setting for everyone’s final banquet, how pleased would the Creator God be, and how precious would be the vocation of experiencing a person’s skills and gifts in contributing to this tender time of life.
It was often observed that all hospitals should be like Calvary, and the past year has made the world aware of the many caregivers who gave their all as it was only their presence, with the assistance of technology, that made it possible for contact with loved ones, that dispatched thousands into eternity. It was not in the written care plan, but staff stories reveal how Jesus would have been in the person of staff from custodial level to the highly professional.
Yes, God so loved the world He gave His only Son, and still, many in whatever walk of life they find themselves continue to make an entrance into eternal life a natural transition.
May no one perish, but may we live our lives so that each of us will be welcomed by the loving God who spares nothing.
Sr. Dorothy Maxwell, OP