Third Sunday of Lent (B)

We just heard on today’s second reading that The Jews demand signs and the Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles[1].

So many times we make the same mistakes that the Jews and Greek: we look for signs: “Lord, give me a sign of what I should do, what school I should go to, who I should marry, what career I should embrace. Give me a sign if we should move or not, etc. etc. I don’t need anything too major–maybe just a word or two in my alphabet soup: Go here, do that.”    Or we look to our own intellects, and we are satisfied with just rationalizing a choice. This is all bogus; it is a waste of time. As Catholics the sign that we have is the sign of Christ crucified. The wisdom that we need is the wisdom of God.  When we have to make a decision, we need to reflect on Christ on the Cross. We need to reflect on sacrificial love, and how we can best apply His love in our lives. Instead of worrying about our wants, we have to consider another’s needs and how our decision can best bring God’s love to another.

And we have to have the courage and humility to put up with people calling us fools, whether they do this to our face, or, usually, behind our backs. “So, you are going to have another baby, how foolish.” “So, you are going to skimp to put your child in a private school, how foolish.” “So, you are going to be the only one in school, at work, in the neighborhood, who is not living for his or her own pleasure, how foolish.” “So, you are going to be the perpetual designated driver and conscience for your friends, how foolish.” “So, you are going to wait until marriage, how foolish.”

If sacrificial love means that we are foolish in the eyes of other people, so be it.

Too often we seek the applause and recognition from others, and expect a reward. Very often we want our name on the wall of a church, in one of the benches, even the Archbishop to notice us.

My brother, my sister, the good does not make noise, and noise does no good. Love, when is true and is sacrificial is full of silence. We cannot seek the applause of others or that others notice the good we're doing. The words of the gospel of Ash Wednesday are very clear: do not let your left hand know what your right is doing[2].

A few weeks ago the Archbishop gave an award to a lay person from each parish in the Archdiocese. The ceremony was at St. Dominic Parish; the information is in Today’s Catholic newspaper. The person in our parish who received the award is a parishioner unknown to most of the parishioners, is a person who performs cleaning, service and a great attention to others. A person who never sought recognition and applause, a person who does not gossip, a person who is always at the service of his brothers and sisters. Of course I will not mention the name; I just want to use this example in our meditation today.

We must learn to go unnoticed, not to seek the applause of others and do well without being noticed. On the other hand, we must learn not to ask for special signs of God. God speaks through His Word, through the celebration of the sacraments, and through daily events. If we cannot read the messages of God in all this is perhaps because we are too superficial and frivolous, and because we need to increase our spirituality. Lent is a good time for this. Sunday Mass is a good time for this. We will use the time. We are in the middle of Lent. We return to the Lord and we learn to hear his voice, and let's say with all my heart the words of the psalm today: Lord, you have the words of everlasting life

[1] Sunday 11th March, 2012, second Sunday of Lent. Readings: Exodus 20:1-17. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life—Ps 18(19):8-11. 1 Corinthians 1:22-25. John 2:13-25.
[2] Cfr Mt 6:1-6, 16-18

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris