Love of Jesus summons the faithful to follow

| Deacon Gabriel Walz | March 12, 2015 | 0 Comments

Crown_thornsIn the Gospel for March 15, Jesus recalls an image from the Old Testament. Just as the bronze serpent was raised up in the desert, so he, too, would need to be raised up. The bronze serpent was lifted up in the desert so that the bodies of those who were bitten by poisonous snakes might be miraculously healed by gazing upon it. Similarly, Jesus was to be lifted up so that those who have faith in him might be saved.

Faith is both a gratuitous gift from God and a virtue. We who have received the divine gift of faith from God are called by him to practice and grow this virtue within us.

But why? What is the relevance of this message today? Why should we go through the effort to foster a virtue that will command from us the daily conversions of our hearts?

Love. Love alone is the answer. It was for love that God sent his only son to die so that we might live. It was for love that Jesus obeyed the will of his Father — love for his Father and a profound love for us as well. Still, we might ask, what is love? What does it look like? Jesus gave us the supreme witness to love when he laid down his life on the cross.

During Lent we engage the mystery of Jesus’ passion and death in hopeful longing for the resurrection. The readings challenge us to consider how we stand in relation to the love of Jesus Christ; his self-surrender is an urgent summons to join with him.

In “Friends of God,” St. Josemaría Escrivá writes: “If it is true that God has created us, that he has redeemed us, that he loves us so much that he has given up his only-begotten Son for us (John 3:16), that he waits for us — every day! — as eagerly as the father of the prodigal son did (cf. Luke 15:11-32), how can we doubt that he wants us to respond to him with all our love? The strange thing would be not to talk to God, to draw away and forget him, and busy ourselves in activities which are closed to the constant promptings of grace.”

In these final weeks of Lent, we have the opportunity to re-evaluate where we are in relation to Jesus Christ.

It might be helpful to reflect: Have I been in regular communication with God through prayer? Do I busy myself with things until I no longer have time for God? Are there things in my life right now that actually draw me away from him? What have I done well? What could I do better?

Deacon Walz is in formation for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity for the Diocese of St. Cloud. His teaching parish is St. Mary in Melrose. His home parish is Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Rockville.


Sunday, March 15
Fourth Sunday of Lent

Readings

  • 2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23
  • Ephesians 2:4-10
  • John 3:14-21

Reflection
During this Lenten season, what have we done well? What could we do better?

 

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Category: Sunday Scriptures