Monday, June 10, 2019 at 6:04 PM
"We Stand with Christ" campaign continues. If you have not received your packet in the mail, please stop in the Parish Office and pick up. In-Pew Commitment weekend-June 22 & 23.

03/18//18 Fifth Sunday in Lent - Fr. Reggie

he Greek-speaking visitors mentioned in today's Gospel had come to Jerusalem on pilgrimage to celebrate the Passover, the most important Jewish holy day. And when they hear about Jesus, they give us one of the most beautiful prayers in the whole Bible. So simple, and so powerful. They come up to St Philip and say, "Sir, we would like to see Jesus."

Jesus' response to this request is kind of confusing. Instead of just saying, "OK, show them in," he gives a long explanation of "his hour," his coming sacrifice on the cross. At first glance, this seems like a denial. But his last statement shows that actually, he is granting their request. "And when I am lifted up from the earth," he explains, "I will draw everyone to myself."

By his crucifixion, Jesus reveals himself to everyone, including these Greek visitors included. Christ wants everyone to find him, to see him, to learn to know and love him - that's why he became man in the first place. And so he allows himself to be crucified, which showing us both his outer self, and his inner self. The crucifixion exposes his heart for all to see - a heart blazing with so much love that it is willing to die for our sake, to suffer unspeakable pain and humiliation in order to reopen to us the gates of heaven. The crucifix is the great revelation of the heart of God. If we want to "see Christ," to see and know God, we have only to raise our eyes to behold him dying on the cross in order to give us true life. There Christ is most attractive to us - and we should always remember that we are no less attractive to him when we bend under the weight of our own cross and weakness.

We all really need to experience this love of Christ; otherwise the demands of our Christian life will wear us down.

If we don't discover that everything God asks of us comes from his love for us, we will just see them as meaningless duties.

But once we encounter the face of Christ smiling at us, the goodness of God shining upon us, then these duties turn into an exciting adventure.

That's the experience of all the saints, even those who underwent excruciating martyrdom.

A story about a widow illustrates this beautifully. A woman was married to a man she did not love. He made her get up every morning at five o'clock, cook his breakfast, and serve it at six o'clock sharp. He made her wait on him, and was exacting in his demands on her time. Her life was made miserable trying to satisfy the requests of her husband. Finally, he died. After a few years, she married again. This time she married a man whom she really loved. One day while clearing out some old papers, she came across the strict set of rules her former husband had written out for her to obey. Carefully she read them over: "Get up at five, serve breakfast as six sharp..."On and on she read. Then she stopped and thought for a second. It dawned on her that she was still fulfilling every single one of those demands, but she hadn't realized it, because this time she was doing it for love's sake.

It is not really difficult to follow Christ and obey his commandments and teachings, if we really love him.

But we can't really love him if we don't allow ourselves to experience how much he loves us.

We are so used to seeing crucifixes that this deep and beautiful meaning behind them is often lost on us. We have to make an effort to shake ourselves out of that routine. This is one reason behind the season of Lent. In just a couple of weeks, we will be celebrating, in the liturgy of Holy Week, this great mystery of Christ's cross and resurrection. Is there anything we can do now, practically speaking, to help refresh our awareness of the meaning behind the crucifix, anything that could help us prepare ourselves to celebrate Holy Week more deeply, more beautifully?

We don't have to get complicated - even a simple effort can sometimes make a big difference. A family movie night this week or weekend could be a good idea - watching and discussing together some great Catholic. Doing a special holy hour, individually or as a family, to pray for each other and your loved ones. Performing some Christian work of mercy - visiting prisoners, the sick, the homebound...If we do our part to help remind ourselves of what the crucifix really means - its revelation of the heart of God - Christ will come to our aid. And when that happens, we will experience more deeply and more personally the fulfillment of his promise: "...when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself."

As he draws closer to us once again through this holy Mass, let's let him draw us closer to himself more than ever, so that we can begin to hear, and to share, the love-filled beatings of his heart.



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