Wednesday, October 10, 2018 at 10:29 AM
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4/2/17 Fifth Sunday in Lent - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti

Fifth Sunday of Lent
Lectionary: 34

  • Both Martha and Mary greeted Jesus with the same words in today’s Gospel: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
  • Both of them envisioned an alternative outcome if circumstances had just been different… But that was not God’s plan…
  • Don’t we often look at our lives in the same way?
  • If only things had been different… If only I had done such and such… If only
  • We seem to have an insatiable need to try to control every aspect of our lives… Everything… Leaving little room for God’s Providence to manifest itself in our lives…
  • We’re called in life to control those things that are in our power to control… This comes naturally…
  • But what we often find most difficult; is learning to accept and embrace those circumstances of life that are not in our power to control…
  • Fighting the flow of our lives often leads to frustration and despair…
  • This doesn’t mean that we’re called to sit back and watch life happen to us…
  • What it means is that after we’ve done everything in our power to affect a desired outcome; we’re called to leave the rest to God’s Providence in trust and in faith
  • Jean-Pierre De Caussade called this “Abandonment to Divine Providence;” and it’s one of the keys to drawing closer to God, and in learning to appreciate God’s Grace in our lives…
  • Jesus had a clear purpose in delaying his arrival in Bethany… Just as the circumstances of each of our lives also have clear purposes in God’s plan…
  • Yet how often do we reject God’s Providence in favor of our own preferences…
  • The key to learning to trust and accept God’s Providence in our lives lies in our ability to trust and accept the words of St. John in 1stJohn 4:16 – “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.  God is Love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.”
  • God is love... We’ve heard it all before… It’s like that insurance commercial where someone makes a statement and the response is: “Everybody knows that...”
  • Have we ever stopped to really think about it, to reflect on it, and to consider the ramifications? 
  • Until we can fully believe-in and know and experience this loving and compassionate God…  Letting go of our agendas and trusting in His good will for us will always be a stretch, as it was for Martha and Mary…
  • If we truly understood and believed that God is love... Our mindset would change... Our faith would change... Our lives would change… and our world would change...
  • The sad truth is that we often don't want to believe it... Because it would cause us to relinquish our hatreds, and our fears, and our self righteousness...
  • We often don't want to believe it because it requires us to change how we see God, how we see ourselves, how we see others, and how we see the world...
  • We often don’t want to believe it because it requires us to give up the status quo with which we've become so comfortable...
  • The scandal of a loving God Who loves and forgives unconditionally and whose restorative justice is inextricably linked to mercy, will continue to haunt us as we insist upon remaking God in our own image...
  • Until we can break free from our conditioning that there's "no free lunch," we’ll continue to put a price on God's love, while we continue to make our faith more of a worthiness contest, rather than the freely given Grace of a magnificently merciful and benevolent Creator…
  • Jesus tells Martha, (and each of us), in today’s Gospel: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?"
  • That last line is the question that we all need to answer over and over again in our lives … Do you believe this?
  • And if the answer is yes, the next logical question is: Do we live as if we believe this?
  • The world or our personal views will never change Who God really is... Rather, God is patiently waiting for the world, and each of us, to awaken to the revelation of who we really are... that we are all one in this Creator Who is love itself
  • We’re called to continue to be transformed into new beings throughout our lives… And this transformation can often be uncomfortable… Because it involves a dying to the old and a rising to the new
  • When we face times of change in our lives… It’s important to renew our focus on He Who does not change
  • Marianne Williamson wrote: “The most important thing to remember during times of great change is to fix our eyes anew on the things that don’t changeEternal things become our compass during times of rapid transition, binding us emotionally to a steady and firm course.  They remind us that we, as children of God, are still at the center of Divine purpose in the world.  They give us the strength to make positive changes, (the) wisdom to endure the negative changes, and the capacity to become people in whose presence, the world moves toward healing.” (The Gift of Change, Pg. 9)
  • Our lives are full of new beginnings, as it was for Martha, and Mary, and Lazarus in today’s Gospel… because God gives up on no one

 

  • Perhaps the best way to start to open ourselves more fully to God’s Providence in our lives each day; is to heed the advice Sonia Ricotti who wrote: “Surrender to what isLet go of what was… (and) Have faith in what will be.”

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