Sunday, March 28, 2010
Sins have a way of making one weary and could easily become a trap of doubt and despair. Every week at mass, we are reminded that we have a Savior who loves us and who wants us to return to Him. When Jesus died on the cross, it wasn’t just for all of the people alive at that time; it was for you - today. It was for us - now. He died on the cross to free us from sin by offering us forgiveness. Like the thieves who hung beside Him, we have two paths to take. We can refuse His sacrifice and deny what He offers us. Or we can realize who He is, what He has done for us and ask for forgiveness.
Asking for forgiveness is difficult for many people; however our Church has designed a way to help us. This way has three common names in English: confession, penance, and reconciliation. It is called confession because we confess the things that shame us, and to how we have hurt God, our neighbor and ourselves. It is also called penance which is a deep desire to be forgiven. Don’t we all desire to be forgiven and reunited with the ones we love? It is also called reconciliation because that is what we want most, to be reconciled to God, our neighbor, and ourselves.
In our church Jesus hangs on the cross above the altar. His arms are open. His arms are waiting to embrace us. Jesus was and is always willing to forgive us. Will His gift go unopened? Aren’t we tired of carrying around our sin? Jesus had words for the weary. Will we hear them? He has given us such a marvelous gift by his death and resurrection. Will we be like the bad thief on the cross and deny this gift or will we be like the good thief and open it?
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, today's second reading, tells us what that love is able to do for us. God's love has the power to heal and transform. He has reconciled us to Him. He does not want us to be lost and wandering in the desert like the Israelites in last week's readings. He does not want us to squander our lives, and live apart from Him, like this week's prodigal son. He, like the father in the gospel, stands at the gate, day after day, waiting for us.
The power of God's love is transformative. He makes all things new. St. Paul tells us, “Whoever is in Christ is a new creation.” When we seek God, not only do we we seek a new way of life, we are able to find it. Like the father in the gospel, God is always there waiting for us. When He sees us on the horizon, He runs to us, and embraces us. He desires to have us as His own, to bring us into His love, and to change our lives. Like the son in the gospel, we sometimes feel we must grovel our way back. It is much simpler to remember that God is love, and He waits for our return.
Friday, March 5, 2010
The Israelites, held captive in Egypt, had pleaded with God for salvation and freedom. When Moses meets God on the mountain, God announces that He has come to their rescue. We know the story from here, the Israelites are freed after a series of plagues and travel across the red sea, and the desert to the promised land. Along their journey they complain about many things from the quality of food, to the fact that they miss being slaves. God tries to help them along the way by giving them mana and then quail in the desert. He also gives them the commandments.
The Gospel tells us that God did not like their grumbling, and many people died because they did not trust God in the journey across the desert. Do we trust God?
God promised Moses that he would lead his people out of slavery into a land flowing with milk and honey. God has promised us that if we come to Him with our burdens, He will take them from us. He is kind and merciful, slow to anger, rich in love. Do we trust that?
Lent is a time to examine our relationship with God. Do you really trust God? When times get hard, do you bring them to God? Do you place your life in God's hands? Do you go where God is leading you? Do you see where God is leading you and try to go somewhere else? While waiting instruction from God, do you create a false god? Do you really trust God? He wants to help us. He has witnessed our affliction, heard our cries, and knows of our suffering. He has come to rescue us and lead us to a promised land. Our savior is His son, Jesus, he freed us from our sin and suffering. He said, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Trust Him.