Sunday, March 13, 2016

Reflections for the 5th week of Lent, Part 1

Monday – Suppressing the Conscience

We do it all the time in some form or another. It's just a little white lie. No one will miss something so small. I'll wait until next time around to pay my dues. That person deserved a sharp response. I'll just buy one more thing. I'll be cheerful and patient tomorrow. It's no big deal really.

Like the two elders in the story of Susanna in today's first reading, we suppress our consciences. We refuse to listen to the little voice inside our hearts that tells us when we're doing something wrong. We tune it out. We tell it to be quiet. We shove it aside. We stubbornly decide that we are going to do what we want to do when we want to do it.

In doing so, however, in suppressing our consciences, we are really turning away from God, Who speaks to us through that little voice inside. It may be a small thing at first. Not all sin is mortal. But it's still a deliberate choice to look away from Heaven and focus on ourselves and our desires. And the more little wrong choices we make, the easier it gets to concentrate on the things of the world and the harder it gets to turn back to God and listen to Him.

During Lent, the Church invites us to examine our lives closely and see where we've been suppressing our consciences and choosing to sin. Also, like the good mother she is, the Church encourages us to come clean with ourselves, confess our sins, and receive the forgiveness that God is generously holding out to us. Now is the time to turn back to God, especially in the beautiful sacrament of Confession, and learn how to listen to that little voice that guides us straight to Him.

Tuesday – Shocking Words

“Where I am going you cannot come.” 

“I belong to what is above.” 

“I do not belong to this world.”

“But the One who sent Me is true, and what I heard from Him I tell the world.”

“When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM...”

“I say only what the Father taught Me.”

“I always do what is pleasing to Him.”

These are truly shocking words. Jesus is claiming His divinity. He is not of this world. He is sent by God the Father and works in close conjunction with the Father, Who tells Him what He must say and do. Jesus always obeys the Father's will, for it is His will, too. There is no difference. Soon, Jesus proclaims, the Son of Man (in His human nature) will be lifted up, and then people will know the truth. His divinity will shine out in the most unlikely place...on the cross.

Wednesday – True Commitment

The three young men were adamant. Even in the face of the king's threat to throw them into a white hot furnace, they were determined to stand their ground. They would not worship an idol no matter who told them to do so. They would not turn away from the one true God no matter how much they were tortured.

What's more, the three young man were not even scared. “There is no need for us to defend ourselves before you in this matter,” they told the king. Their God could easily save them if He so willed, but even if He did not, they would remain faithful to Him anyway. They would trust Him completely, knowing that if He allowed them to suffer and die, then He had His reasons, and that was good enough for them.

Do we take this same attitude of true commitment to God? Do we stand firm in the face of suffering and persecution, or do we dash the other direction and give in to the dictates of the world? Do we fear those who threaten us, or do we stand firm in the arms of the God Who loves us?

No comments:

Post a Comment