Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fifth Sunday of Lent 2012

BEADS OF JOY 3-25-12 “If a Grain of Wheat Dies”
©2012 James Dacey, Jr. OFS

Today is the Fifth Sunday in Lenten Season Time B
My Friends,

Today is the 5th Sunday in Lent. This has been a most joyous journey as we draw closer to Easter. The gospel we are reflecting on today is John 12:20-33 (The Coming of Jesus’ Hour and The Voice From Heaven). It is death that inevitably leads us to Life. That’s not so easily accepted by the world we live in. Our old nature, our bad habits, our sinful habits, must be put to death in our lives. So many of us have been enslaved; to those very things for many years in our lives. With our Lord’s help and with Him by our side, He will give us the strength to separate ourselves from our old self, and be Born Again a New Spirit in Him. Jesus challenges us to follow Him, let us get serious and do just that, no more excuses, no more reasoning out specific sins, no more playing games with what sin really is; let us seriously put our old nature out, and let us embrace the New Spirit we have become with Jesus at the center of who we are. Let us never forget, it was Jesus’ Cross that freed us from our sin and worse, our death. We need help and guide and lead one another through all this in life. We can’t be judgmental towards one another. We must remember Jesus forbid us to judge each other; it is His wisdom, mercy and love that forgives us. His compassion for the sinner is endless, nothing is more important for Him than to forgive us and make us clean before God. It is only through God's grace that we will able to confront our sins, and repent and beg God for forgiveness. It's not that we need to beg, He will always forgive us, but we must not be so assumptive and arrogant, for that would only lead us to more sin. Instead in humility let us approach Him.

We can also reflect on our past ignorance that has led us into our own personal sinful affairs. I would think that since Jesus had only just begun His ministry, so much that He was teaching still wasn't heard. Many were probably living a life that for whatever reason, may have thought, "there is no God. So what difference does it make what I do." Their faith was not alive, until they met Jesus, Son of the Most High God. Their hearts and soul were open to the truth and it was the "truth" in Jesus that sets all of us free. What an absolutely exciting feeling that is when we know Him and He forgives us for all the evil we have done. No one on planet earth has any power to do such a wonderful loving thing like that for us.

Do we seriously know the joy that can be found in a really good open honest confession? We are accountable to God for the things we do in this life. I know many people live a life that obviously doesn’t reflect such sediment; but in the end it's true, we are all accountable for our own choices and decisions. That's why we don't have any right to judge one another, instead we need to be loving and compassionate to one another helping one another defeat the sin. Do we know another very powerful, extremely eternal gift that God gave each of us? Each other!!! That's right we have one another for all eternity to share God's love with each other. That's why we must do what we can to help one another to eternity. Take a good hard look at all the wonderful friends you have in your life. How many really know Jesus? How many do you love that you know don't know Jesus. I know what you're probably thinking, "should I share Jesus with them?" My answer is yes, but in each situation, we need to approach that differently. Some may just need your prayers, others might need someone to love them, or forgive them. But be compassionate. When they see you, they need to see Jesus. There's an ole song that goes like this, "They will know we are Christians by our Love...”

What can we do now in our lives, so that we to can confront our own sins and bid them farewell? For starters let us not look upon anyone else, but only ourselves. Look in the mirror; it's that person who needs your attention and the old self removed. Each of us makes our own self accountable for the sin that we commit; we will become a more God fearing, God loving world. Jesus gave us a warning against these things. "Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?" Matthew 7:1-4. AMEN!! In other words, why are you noticing that little spec of annoying sin in your brother's eye, when you have such a huge plank of sin in your own? Let's live a life pleasing to God. Sin only offends Him and further alienates us from Him. Here is a very insightful verse, "To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted." Titus 1:15.

Today's Challenge: Frequent Confession. The church requires once a year. Fr Larry Richards recommends once a month, he says it's good for the soul. I can't help but to agree. Consider this simple thought of cleanliness: When our pots and pans get dirty, they must be cleaned again to prepare healthy, good foods, what must we do? Clean them? When? Every single time we dirty them, in fact, it’s usually directly after we dirty them that we clean them. Why? If we leave the old food particles all over them, we run the risk of getting ill and putting our health in danger… Same with our Spiritual Life. We must keep ourselves clean and pure before God.

Your brother in Christ Jesus & His Most Blessed Mother,
Jim (The Rosary Man) Dacey Jr OFS