Monday, March 26, 2012

Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Jesus said to the Jews, "I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come." So the Jews said, "He is not going to kill himself, is he, because he said, ´Where I am going you cannot come´?" He said to them, "You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world. That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins." So they said to him, "Who are you?" Jesus said to them, "What I told you from the beginning. I have much to say about you in condemnation. But the one who sent me is true, and what I heard from him I tell the world." They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father. So Jesus said (to them), "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me. The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him." Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.
Introductory Prayer: Father of everlasting goodness, our origin and guide, be close to us and hear the prayers of all who praise you. Forgive our sins and restore us to life. Keep us safe in your love. Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Petition: Lord, increase my faith in you.
1. Where I am going you cannot come. When Adam sinned, Paradise was closed to man. Nothing within man’s power could reverse the course of history now marred by sin. Even the greatest of the patriarchs and prophets could only “salute the Promised Land from afar”, so to speak, as symbolized by Moses who led the Israelites to the Promised Land but never entered it himself. But what is impossible for man is still possible for God. By taking our flesh, taking on every dimension of humanity, all humanity takes on a new meaning, a higher dignity. Then, the key to opening the door was placed on Christ’s shoulders in the form of a cross. As the one true High Priest he entered into the sanctuary alone to atone for our sin and the sin of the world. Where he has gone no other human can go of his own accord. But once the Son has opened the door, we, his adopted brothers and sisters, possess the hope of entering into the eternal life of God. ”In other words, through the blood of Jesus we have the confidence to enter the sanctuary by a new way which he has opened for us, a living opening through the curtain, that is to say, his body” (Hebrews 10:19).

2. If you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins. Life or death, the blessing or the curse. This is the choice Moses placed before the chosen people of Israel who had consistently witnessed the saving power of Yahweh. Eternal Life is a choice, a continual decision to choose the good, to serve the truth, to do God’s will. But eternal death is no less a moral choice. Jesus brings this choice to a new level – to believe in him is to have life, to reject him is death. The faith in Jesus that leads to life is not merely a series of personal preferences. It is a matter of life or death because it assumes a genuine search for the truth about life and death. To see Jesus is to see his Father. In Jesus, “God has made himself known in the fullest possible way.
He has revealed to mankind who he is. This definitive self-revelation of God is the fundamental reason why the Church is missionary by her very nature. She cannot do other than proclaim the Gospel, that is, the fullness of the truth which God has enabled us to know about himself” (Pope John Paul II, The Mission of the Redeemer, n.5). The proper response to God´s revelation is the “obedience of faith” (Romans 16:26), a personal adherence to the person of Christ as truly God and truly man.
3. When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM. Every parent knows that love is a sacrifice. The most sublime symbol of all selfless devotion is the Son of God nailed to the cross, nailed by those he came to save. It is an often-stated truth that if I were the only person on earth, Christ would have died for me on the cross to save me. The corollary to this is that, were I the only person on earth, then I would have been the one who drove in the nails and hoisted the crossbeam in its place. He came offering life and I responded with death. Yet in “lifting up” Christ, I discover the bedrock truth of his boundless love. A love that was at the beginning, is now and ever shall be. He is love. He is mercy. He is life. He is truth … all because HE IS.
Dialogue with Christ: Blessed Lord, thank you for the gift of life and most especially for the gift of faith. Help me to enter into your life by exercising my faith. I trust that you will guide my steps. Grant me wisdom and prudence in my choices, and with your grace I will strive to lovingly give you every act of my day. Mother of Purity, make my heart only for Jesus.
Resolution: Today I will look for at least three opportunities to make hidden acts of charity in reparation for so many sins against Christ’s Sacred Heart, especially for my own sins.

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