Authority. In some ways this is a hard concept for our American minds. The last weekend before Advent we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. This weekend we celebrate Palm Sunday. These two Sundays are connected. On Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. People laid palm branches on the road for Him to travel on. They treated Him as they would a king. At that moment, Jesus was important to them. He was their Savior. However, as we hear the Passion read this weekend, we know that people’s opinion quickly changed. In a week Jesus went from being their king to being their worst criminal. He goes from having people praising Him and laying palms on His path to being shouted at and spit at. This may seem awfully quick. However, we do this all the time. We praise Jesus at Mass during on song and then we space out the next moment. We have great fellowship with someone over coffee and then ten minutes later we are gossiping about them to someone else. Is Jesus King of our lives? A king sounds so archaic and repressive. But Jesus isn’t like that. He wants to be King of our lives so that He can provide us with everything we need to live life to the full. Jesus’ kingship is not repressive, but life-giving. Jesus’ wants to be the most important person and thing in our lives so that as our King, He can give us whatever we need: mercy, love, forgiveness, compassion, healing, etc. Take your blessed palms home and put them in a prominent place to remind you that Jesus wants to be King of your life.
5th Sunday of Lent: Life is not always easy. In a world with medication for almost every ailment, in a world of instant gratification, pain seems worthless. Therefore, I think we sometimes see Jesus as the Great Physician, which He is, but nothing more. We see Him just as the Fixer. In some ways Martha and Mary fall into this trap in the Gospel. Jesus was good friends with Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. So Martha and Mary just assumed Jesus would come right away when He found out Lazarus was ill. Jesus waited and Lazarus died. This isn’t the way it was suppose to happen. If Jesus was their friend, then there wasn’t suppose to be pain, suffering, and death, right? We too have an idea of how things are suppose to be. We too have an idea of what God should and shouldn’t do. We think we know how God should answer our prayers. But God is God, and we are not. God’s number one goal is to get us to heaven, but without doing away with our free will. Therefore, He is not going to cause pain and suffering, but He is going to allow it if it will cause us to realize we are not in control. Pain and suffering can be redemptive. It can cause us to cling more tightly to God and less on ourselves. It helps us realize we are not our own savior, but that we need Our Savior, Jesus Christ. This is what Jesus taught Martha and Mary when He raised Lazarus from the dead because He did it on His time table, not theirs. In the end He did not meet their expectations; He exceeded them. Give God the chance (look to Him with hope) to exceed your expectations. Let go of our sins and control and give God the room to do awesome things in your life. This is what Lent is about: Let go and let God.
What a great Gospel this week. Jesus cures a man who has been born since birth. Throughout the Gospel reading, we find out that there is more than one type of blindness. Physical blindness may be the hardest to deal with, but it is not the worst type of blindness to have. The Pharisees were blind to who Jesus really is. They refused to believe that the man had truly been cured of blindness because they were blind to believing in Jesus. God, Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity was right there in their midst. And yet they can’t see Jesus for who He really is. How many times are we blind to the presence of God in our lives? We ask God: “Where were you?”; “Why did that have to happen?” Have we stopped to look for God in the midst of hardship and pain? Have we stopped to see God in the people who help us through the tough times? Where are we blind? Where are our blind-spots? Ask God to heal you and open your spiritual eyes.
Peace of Christ,