Fifth Sunday of Lent
We have come to the fifth Sunday in Lent.
The readings from the Old and New Testament each day remind us that God has addressed His people in every age, communicating with them through their sages, their holy ones, so that their world would be aware of His Presence, His concern for His people.
God is still messaging us, our generation. And like our ancestors, it is important for us to listen, to gather thoughts from those whom God has chosen in our time and for our time to communicate His message.
One of those chosen by God to open our minds and hearts to His Presence among us is our blessed holy Pontiff, Pope Francis. I believe the words of Pope Francis, which follow, indicate his desire to open our minds and hearts to the Presence of God in the world in which we find ourselves:
Let us recognize that God is not something vague; our God is not “spray”; he is tangible; he is not abstract but has a name: “God is love.” His is not a sentimental, emotional kind of love but the love of the Father who is the origin of all life, the love of the Son who dies on the cross and is raised, the love of the Spirit who renews human beings and the world. Thinking that God is love does us so much good, because it teaches us to love, to give ourselves to others as Jesus gave himself to us and walks with us. Jesus walks beside us on the road through life.
And, in another of his messages, Pope Francis acknowledges what we sometimes do not want to admit to ourselves:
Our culture has lost its sense of God’s tangible presence and activity in our world. We think that God is to be found in the beyond, on another level of reality, far removed from our everyday relationships. But if this were the case, if God could not act in the world, his love would not be truly powerful, truly real, and thus not even true, a love capable of delivering the bliss that it promises. It would make no difference at all whether we believed in him or not. Christians, on the contrary, profess their faith in God’s tangible and powerful love which really does act in history and determines its final destiny: a love that can be encountered, a love fully revealed in Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.
We followers of Jesus on this Lenten journey are heartened by these words of Pope Francis:
Walking is an art; if we are always in a hurry, we tire and cannot reach the destination of our journey. Yet if we stop and do not move, we also fail to reach our destination. Walking is precisely the art of looking to the horizon, thinking about where I want to go, and also coping with the weariness that comes from walking. Moreover, the way is often hard going; it is not easy. “I want to stay faithful to this journey, but it is not easy: listen, there is darkness, there are days of darkness, days of falling…someone falls, falls.” Yet always keep this in your thoughts: do not be afraid of failure. In the art of walking, it is not falling that matters, but not “staying fallen.” Get up quickly, immediately, and continue to go on…But also, it is terrible to walk alone, terrible and tedious. Walking in communion with friends, with those who love us: this helps us; it helps us to arrive precisely at the destination where we must arrive.
God overcomes our sinfulness. His message is directed to the people of the time and His people have received His message from many messengers and we just have to be able to listen and understand, to be aware that God has not abandoned us.
What has the Cross given to those who have gazed upon it and to those who have touched it? What has the Cross left to each one of us? You see, it gives us a treasure that no one else can give: the certainty of the faithful love which God has for us. A love so great that it enters into our sin and forgives it, enters into our suffering and gives us the strength to bear it. It is a love which enters into death to conquer it and to save us.
May our journey together as we prepare to enter Holy Week be blessed.
Sr. Kathleen Sullivan, OP