In the Gospel for the Fifth Sunday of Lent A, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.  Jesus ordered the stone removed from the tomb.  “Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him, ‘Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.’  Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?’  So they took away the stone” (John 11:39-41a).  Jesus then frees Lazarus from death and restores him to life.  Removing the stone was an act of faith in the power of Jesus to give us new life.  I am weighed down by the stone of the coronavirus pandemic.  I am feeling oppressed by its enormity.  I am struggling to believe that God can bring new life out of this crisis.  I pray for the faith of Martha and Mary that Jesus is the resurrection and the life.  How can Jesus free you from the stone threatening your life?

 

In the Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Lent A, Jesus cures the man born blind. “When Jesus heard that they [Pharisees] had thrown him out [of the synagogue] , he found him and said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’  He answered and said, ‘Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?’  Jesus said to him, ‘You have seen him, the one speaking with you is he.’  He said, ‘I do believe, Lord,’ and he worshiped him.  Then Jesus said, ‘I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind’ ” (John 9: 35-39).  The blind man recognized the one who healed him as Jesus, the Son of God.  Jesus is still with us, loving us, healing us, forgiving us.  How can God help you see Jesus more clearly in yourself and in others?

In the Gospel for the Third Sunday of Lent A, Jesus meets the Samaritan Woman at the Well.  Jesus asks for a drink of water.  She asks him why a Jew wants a drink from a Samaritan woman.  “Jesus answered and said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink, ‘you would have asked him and he would have given you living water’ … ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life’ “(John 4:10, 13-14).  Jesus satisfies the thirst of our hearts deepest desires.  For what are you thirsty?

In the Gospel for the Second Sunday of Lent A, Peter, James and John witness the transfiguration of Jesus.  “While he [Peter] was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Matthew 17: 5).  Hearing negative voices is part of the human condition.  I am not good enoughI want what my neighbors haveI am afraid of people different than meI have to get even with anyone who hurts me.  God wants us to listen to Jesus instead.  You are a child of God.  You have what you needYou are brother and sister to everyone.  Rely on God for justice.  To whose voice are you listening?

 

 

In the Gospel for the First Sunday of Lent A, Jesus is tempted.  “Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence, and he said to him, ‘All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me’.  At this, Jesus said to him, ‘Get away, Satan!  It is written: The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve(Matthew 4:8-10).  Jesus overcomes these temptations to use his power for self serving purposes.  He desires only to do the will of God.  Jesus wants his disciples to do the same.  How do you resist the temptation to serve yourself alone?

 

In the Gospel for the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time A, Jesus continues the Sermon on the Mount.  “Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow” (Matthew 5:42a).  Jesus wants his disciples to give to beggars and borrowers.  He also wants us to have an open attitude towards everyone by treating all with kindness, patience, and generosity.  He wants us to love others not for their love in return but for in increase in God’s love.  Christians love even those who disagree with them, dislike them, disrespect them, desire ill for them, do not even know them.  How do you give God’s love to those who do not love you?

In the Gospel for the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time A, Jesus teaches his disciples about fulfilling the Law.  He demands more in the way of love.  His disciples must not only avoid murder but also anger towards another.  “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother [sister] has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother [sister], and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5: 23-24).  A right relationship with God demands reconciliation.  No one can truly love God with a grudge in one’s heart.  If one claims to love God, one must try to make amends.  Christians do so by forgiving those who have hurt them, sharing what they have with those in need, respecting those different than them, loving those who seem unlovable.  Do you need to reconcile with someone?  How?

 

In the Gospel for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time A, Jesus compares his disciples to light.  “You are the light of the world.  A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house.  Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Matthews 5: 14-16).  Light becomes light only when it helps us see.  Light does not illuminate itself.  Light gives light for others.  Christians glorify God by giving of themselves for others.  How does your light shine for others?

In the Gospel for the Solemnity of the Presentation of the Lord, Mary and Joseph present their infant son, Jesus, in the Temple.  There they encounter Simeon.  “This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.  He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God” (Luke 2:25b-28).  Pope Francis imagines us holding Jesus in our arms but also “in our hands in all that we do: in prayer, at work, at the table, on the telephone, at school, with the poor, everywhere” (Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Feb  2, 2018).  How do you hold Jesus in your arms?  in your hands?

In the Gospel for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jesus calls the disciples.  “As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.  He said to them, ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’   At once they left their nets and followed him” (Matthew 4: 18-20).  As he did Peter and Andrew, Jesus invites us to follow him and sends us on a mission.  The Blues Brothers (1980 film starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd) were on a mission from God to save a Catholic orphanage from foreclosure.  What is your mission from God?