Monday, March 30, 2009

Release Us, God

Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Lent

March 31, 2009

By Beth DeCristofaro

Then the people came to Moses and said, "We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you. Pray the LORD to take the serpents away from us." So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses, "Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and whoever looks at it after being bitten will live." … whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he lived. (Numbers 21: 7-9)

(Jesus) 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." (John 8:23-34)


Let this be written for the generation to come, and let his future creatures praise the LORD: "The LORD looked down from his holy height, from heaven he beheld the earth, to hear the groaning of the prisoners, to release those doomed to die." (Psalm 102:19-21) Lord, help me see how I am bound and help me loose those bonds through your loving mercy. Help me recognize how I wander aimlessly and instead set my eyes and heart upon you. Lord, help me stay out of my own way as I humbly walk your ways.


This Lent I find myself identifying closely with the Israelites in the desert. I whine, complain, find ways around the right ways, fall short and choose my own desires over the direction which God promises leads to life. And then when I find myself in a snake pit, I pray, acknowledge I have sinned against God and ask to be saved.

It’s so darn easy to be human! We need signs, symbols, answers and roadmaps, color- coded as to quickest, most scenic and easiest commute through our deserts. Jesus, the “I Am”, replaces the bronze serpent to save us and fill us with himself. From of old, generation to generation, God promises to hear the groanings of those imprisoned – even within their own egos which is certainly my only prison much of the time – and to set us free.

Human life which is both sweet and dire; Jesus is our roadmap. God created only good. Jesus asks us to look only through his eyes of love and see the good. As Fr. James Greenfield, OSF, said in his homily during Live Jesus, we can choose to see with “radical amazement” that God is present in everything. This takes practice which means being with and listening to God rather than telling God (as the Pharisees tried to do) what life is or what holiness is and what God should want.


Be grateful for this season of Lent in which God invites us to see our lives anew and rededicate ourselves to being God’s chosen one just as the Israelites did again and again when God saved them from themselves. Look at one relationship, one habit, one addiction, one shortcoming which is binding you and biting you. Bring it before God in silence and prayer. What is God telling you or asking you to do? Give up the snake and accept God’s gift of Life.

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