Are we willing to replace fear with belief & trust?
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ezekiel 37: 12-14; Romans 8: 8-11; John 11: 1-45
How is everyone doing? This is the question that is so prevalent right now in our society. People are filled with anxiety and fear unsure what the next day or minute will bring. Many people have succumbed to their addictions or unhealthy behaviors that they have tried to put aside before the COVID-19 pandemic. Where or who can save us? What is the meaning of this pandemic?
Our readings today remind us of an essential aspect of our life that is very easy to lose sight of when we are going through difficult times and that is the Divine is with you and me and us. The Divine is in our midst. The Divine permitted this illness as other things in our life because of our free will. We have not been promised that illness or even death will not occur but rather we have been promised that the Divine will be with us. The first reading reminds us that the God of the Old Testament was with the chosen people even when they went astray and cursed God. God’s promise of a transforming love will bring new life to those who are ill and suffering if we remain open to the Spirit within.
St. Paul in Romans reminds us that we have the power of the Divine life force and spirit within us. Yet we cannot let fear, anxiety, anger, greed, bitterness to block the Spirit. God will not take away our free will to choose but when we turn to the Divine and open our mind and hearts, we will find strength and understanding. The wisdom of the Divine is understanding knowing that the love and strength we have and can rely on is transforming and will last forever.
Jesus weeps over the death of his friend Lazarus and mourns with Martha and Mary but does not leave it at that but calls upon the power of the Indwelling Spirit and raises his friend to new life. The story of Lazarus is our story today. If we do not give up or loose heart and turn to the Lord in our hour of need the Lord will not leave us. Just as the people of the Old Testament and those who were with Jesus at the grave of his friend, we too will experience new life and strength. Do not be afraid and replace our fear with trust and belief even when we do not see or feel faithful.
During these last days of Lent as we begin to look forward to the celebration of Easter let us pray for the ability to experience the resurrected life within us which brings hope and peace. Suffering is a part of our human condition, but it can be transformed by our choices and openness to the Spirit within. We have choices to either develop our relationship with the Lord so that we can rely on the Spirit rather than material possessions which do not last nor give us meaning.
Let us pray for all those who have the virus and have died of the virus and for each of us that we will make safe choices and maintain our social distance. Let us pray that the Lord will give us strength and peace as we experience these difficult times.
If you find yourself alone and want to connect with others in prayer please join us Saturday evening at 5 PM EST for our Sunday vigil mass, and Sunday and Wednesday evening at 8 for our prayer and share.
We have these on zoom. The links are on the webpage www.cfapli.net None should be alone or not connected we are here for you.