Fifth Sunday of Lent (B)

In the first reading, the Prophet Jeremiah spoke about a time when God’s people would be so united to God that they would know within themselves how to serve Him.  That time is now.  God’s law is written deep within each of our hearts. We don't need anyone to tell us what we should do.  Deep within ourselves we know if we are true to God or not. Some people will argue with us.  They will say, "It's OK to get drunk, to try this, to do that.”  They will argue that all the bad things that high school, college and basically people of all ages get into is really normal behavior.  We know that is a lie. Everything within us, deep within us, tells us that this is a lie. We know that we cannot behave immorally and face our God. So much of what the world tells us to do conflicts with the deep life within us.  We have to recognize that what some call normal behavior is for us Christians, abnormal behavior[1].

This is our time.  This is our hour. We have the choice to stand for Christ and live in peace with God and with ourselves, or to turn towards that which is popular and sinful and live in turmoil.  See, that is what sin does to us. It puts us in turmoil. We make believe that we are cool with whatever is happening, but we aren’t. Sometimes we even have a hard time looking into the mirror.  We can’t stand looking at ourselves because we can’t stand the person we are becoming when our actions contradict all that is within us.

Jesus spoke about time in today’s Gospel. He called it His Hour. When Andrew and Philip told him that people were asking Him to go to the Passover Festival in Jerusalem, Jesus knew what was going to happen.  He didn’t run from it.  He embraced it.  This was His Time.  It was what He was put on earth to do.  He would stand against evil.

We all have hours, and we have our hour.  We have many times in our lives when we have to stand up for God and be whom we are. All during Lent we have been asking ourselves, “Am I the person I want to be? Do I try to reflect the image of God within me, or am I untrue to my very self. There is no question about it.  There are many temptations, many ways that we are tempted to hedge on our commitment to Christ.  The cost of being true to the law written within our hearts can sometimes be quite heavy. We might find ourselves excluded from that society, that sport, or those people with whom we really want to belong. It hurts to have someone say, “What, are you too good to join us?” But the peace of Christ surpasses all things. Nothing is more important than living in this peace, then living united to the Lord.

We all have our hours, and we have our hour. There are continual choices for God that we make throughout our lives.  Those are our hours. There is also that one choice that is the reason why God placed us one earth.  That is our hour.  Our hour is the action that expresses whom we are deep within ourselves.  It is the fundamental expression of our Christian life.  For some people that hour is a public affirmation of Christ in the face of death. St. Agnes was probably only 12 when she refused to embrace paganism and was tortured to death. Old St. Ignatius of Antioch was probably in his 70's or 80's when he would not let his friends bribe the Romans to save him from being thrown to the wild animals in the Roman Coliseum.
Maybe something so radical will not happen to us. Perhaps our hour will be the sum total of the choices we have made in our lives which we present to the Lord when this life is over. The big question is: Are we ready for our hours?  Are we ready to embrace the moment of our lives when all of our existence proclaims our union with Christ? Are we ready at all times to embrace all that we can be? The entire little yes’s we make to Christ, all those times that we deny ourselves what others say we should have or do, all these affirmations of our Christianity strengthen us for the total affirmation of our life, strengthen us for our hour ■

[1] Fifth Sunday of Lent (B), March 22, 2015. Readings: Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 14-15; Hebrews 5:7-9. John 12:20-33

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