Saturday, April 15, 2017

Lenten Blog 2017 - Saturday, 15 April 2017 (Holy Saturday)

HOLY SATURDAY

Have you ever heard a full orchestra performing a majestic symphony? The conductor paints a most beautiful tone color by skilfully commanding an interplay of the instruments and as the excitement in the audience builds at very rapid rate, we anticipate the magnificent musical climax. But then, abruptly, every instrument is brought to complete silence. The audience holds its breath as we await the conclusion of this story in sound...a whole-rest pause has been introduced to heighten the emotion of this dramatic moment of expectation. A pause, a rest period can be used with intense effectiveness to add strength and power to the rich depths of a moment in time. We see this so powerfully in the Gospels.

In the Gospel of John we watch as Jesus makes powerful use of a dramatic pause. The Pharisees had coordinated what they must have thought was a full proof plan to trap this much hated "Rabbi". The woman was caught in adultery, they had dragged her into his presence, they had gathered up their bricks to stone her. 

The scene was set. 

And now they confronted the "Teacher". In their view, there was no way out for Him. They had 
covered every base and He would have to condemn her to death or deny the Law of Moses.  Jesus, the Master Musician, introduced a dramatic pause in that climactic moment of tense expectation: "They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but  Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger." (Jn 8:1-77)

And everyone froze! 

The Master had expertly brought the dramatic pause to impose silence on the anticipated violence. 

AND JESUS BROUGHT THIS SINNER TO SPIRITUAL LIFE.













When the Lord's friend, Lazarus was dying, the Savior imposed a waiting period of 4 days before He went to the home of His friends. Lazarus had by that time died, was prepared for burial, bound in burial cloths, placed in the tomb.  There could be absolutely no doubt that Lazarus was dead. 

Jesus stood before the tomb AND HE PAUSED.

All eyes were on Him, absolute silence filled the taut air.  

"Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me.  You always  hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will  believe you sent me.”

AND JESUS HAD BROUGHT A MAN BACK TO LIFE FROM THE DEAD.


















And so it is that we arrive at this day in Holy Week. Holy Saturday. The Passion and Death of the Lord is behind us.

We walked with Him along the Via Dolorosa as He absorbed our ugliness to give us His Beauty.  And now, we are made to pause. A silence descends into our souls as we await the glory of His Resurrection when God will raise Jesus to life. 

What do we hear the Lord whisper to us in the deep quiet of our souls as He "writes in the dust with His finger".

Are our lives being silently woven into the Passion and Death and soon to be Resurrection of Our Savior?



Thursday, April 6, 2017

Lenten Blog 2017 - Saturday, 8 April 2017

TODAY'S READINGS:

EZEKIEL 37: 21 - 28
JEREMIAH 31
JOHN 11: 45 - 56

Today, when we step into this powerful scene in the Gospel of St John we find ourselves faced with a situation that has to be life-changing for our spiritual journey back to God through Christ. 

In this dramatic passage, we stand shoulder to shoulder with many other people in the hot, dusty burial grounds. We have just witnessed Jesus awakening Lazarus from death.

The crowd around us had been stunned into awed silence but now, eyes wide with shock, they turn to look into the eyes of equally speechless friends. Tongues are loosening. And slowly, in hushed voices, words expressing division begin to be heard. Fears begin to surface and people were divided: some believed in Him with their whole being, some began to denounce Him. How could anyone denounce someone for raising a man from death to life? What could be the source of the growing fear within? 

We have to understand that many of that number depended completely on the Temple power and on its leaders to be able to live in financial security, for their families to be accepted and to be part of their community. They were aware that this unknown "Prophet" from Galilee was a threat to the Temple and to the Pharisees so their fear-filled hearts, even having witnessed this death to life event, were divided. They erred on the side of caution and security, and ran to report Jesus to the Temple authorities.

To accept Jesus as Lord can often bring division into our fear-filled hearts. On Sundays we acknowledge Him as Lord and God but on Monday and the rest of the week, do we trust Him to resolve our daily fears? Does He really know my fear? Lordship over death doesn't stop Jesus from feeling  deep compassion for our sorrows and fears. "Christ's Heart is Human-Divine, the God of loving, maternal tenderness made flesh" (Pope Benedict XVI)

When temptations press in on us, can we hear Him tell us, "Your weakness is My might. Your safety lies in letting Me fight for you".

When we are very scared of financial demands, when it's hard to meet debts, can we hear Him say,  "I am your purse-bearer. Draw from Me, depend on Me. My supplies are limitless. I am the world's CFO. Let Me prove my promises". 

When we are overcome by sorrow, can we hear Him say, "I am the Man of sorrows. Let me teach you some of my most treasured lessons which I share only with my close friends. Let me help you wield the weapon of the power of a prayer pressed from grief".

Can we allow the One Who overcomes death to awaken us from the death of daily fear into God's new life or will our souls divided by our fears ?

"Yes, I  believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world” (11:27). Yes, O Lord! We also believe, notwithstanding our doubts and darkness; we believe in you because you have the words of eternal life. We want to believe in you, who give us a trustworthy hope of life beyond life, of authentic and full life in your kingdom of light and peace" (Pope Benedict XVI)


And you?