Sunday, March 25, 2012


25 MARCH 2012. Today's celebration of the fifth Sunday of Lent provides us an opportunity to experience a glimpse into the the humanity of Christ in the same way that we often suffer--He was troubled--and in a number of ways provides an opportunity to consider the gift of the sacrament of reconciliation.

In today's Gospel reading from the Gospel of Saint John, we hear that Jesus is "troubled" because He knows the time for His passion and death is at hand, so that He may rise from the dead, but His human self--as we all do--wants to avoid pain and hurt. Listen to Christ's words from the mass today:
Some Greeks who had come to worship at the Passover Feast
came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee,
and asked him, "Sir, we would like to see Jesus."
Philip went and told Andrew;
then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
Jesus answered them,
"The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat;
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Whoever loves his life loses it,
and whoever hates his life in this world
will preserve it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me,
and where I am, there also will my servant be.
The Father will honor whoever serves me.

"I am troubled now. Yet what should I say?
'Father, save me from this hour?'
But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.
Father, glorify your name."
Then a voice came from heaven,
"I have glorified it and will glorify it again."
The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder;
but others said, "An angel has spoken to him."
Jesus answered and said,
"This voice did not come for my sake but for yours.
Now is the time of judgment on this world;
now the ruler of this world will be driven out.
And when I am lifted up from the earth,
I will draw everyone to myself."
He said this indicating the kind of death he would die.
Jn 12:20-33 (NABRE). No less human than any of us are, but unlike us in every way: fully divine, Jesus knows that He has been sent to reconcile humanity to the Father and save us from sin. And, He knows that to do this He must suffer and die so that He may rise again.

Today we see that Christ is troubled. His humanity tells Him to run from the hurt and pain that lies ahead in His passion. But, being God and, thus, united with the Divine Will by His nature, He is perfectly obedient to the Father and submits Himself to the suffering of the passion and crucifixion.

Our reconciliation to the Father, has been bought for us by the most precious blood of our Lord spilled on the cross. How can we any less seek to reconcile ourselves in our every moment to Christ and His bride the Church?

We sin. This is certainly because we are human.

But, our humanity is not merely of a fallen nature--our humanity has been given to us in the image and likeness of God the Creator. In each of us we are united with the Divine, being created in His image, and in possessing an everlasting soul. This soul is the most precious part of each of us. It shares in the very nature of the Divine, being itself eternal. But, our humanity, imperfect as it is, requires reconciliation because we suffer from sin.

It is this sin that drew Christ to us. Consider the Last Supper. As Christ feels the anxiety of all that is about to come to pass, and as he knows that His Disciples are about to desert Him, deny Him, and betray Him, He still "yearns" to share that meal with them. Not in spite of their sin, but because of their sin. He seeks to reconcile them to Himself and reconcile all humanity, even as He is troubled in all that is about to come to pass.

What a wonderful love that Christ has! What a wonderful gift that the Church has given us, through the grace of God, to also be reconciled in our time today through the sacrament of reconciliation. As each of us attends faithfully to confession, we are absolved of our sin by Jesus Himself, in the person of the priest, and forgiven by the community of believers. How necessary. How beautiful.

Today, 25 March, is also the commemoration of the St. Dismas, the repentant thief crucified with our Lord. If only we could hear those words that Christ spoke to St. Dimas from the cross: "[T]oday you will be with me in Paradise." (Lk 23:43)

But, we do have the opportunity this day to reconcile ourselves and hear the words of Christ spoken to us in the person of a priest: "I absolve you of your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." How necessary. How beautiful.

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