Saturday, March 21, 2015

Honor Whoever Serves Me

Fifth Sunday of Lent 2012 B*

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD. I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer will they have need to teach their friends and relatives how to know the LORD. All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD, for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.  Jeremiah 31:33-34
Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. Hebrews 5:8-9
"The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me." John 12:23-26

God offers to make us his people and to be our God. Piety is our acceptance of the covenant of the Lord. Piety is how our heart understands God as our Lord.Piety in its externals reflects how we accept the Lord as our God. Piety contains the rituals of how we return to the Lord with our whole heart. Piety shows itself in our desires and yearnings to see the Lord. The intensity with which we read or listen to the Word of the Lord reveals piety to our world. The Prophet Jeremiah speaks of how the Lord took the Hebrews by the hand to lead them forth from the land of Egypt. Our piety is how we take the hand of the Lord in our daily lives and allow the Lord to lead us as our master. Our piety is seen in the recognition of the law of the Lord that is written on our hearts. Our piety is how we love the Lord. Piety is how we give thanks for the forgiveness of the Lord. It is the confidence of our hearts that God remembers our sin no more. Our piety is the clean heart that God has created in us.

Even as Christ learned obedience through what he suffered and offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to his Father, he becomes the source of eternal salvation for us who obey him. Our study reveals to us the ongoing presence of God in our daily lives. We learn how to be like the grain of wheat that falls to the earth. Even as the grain dies it produces much fruit. We study what we can do for the Lord and discover how we can best serve him. What we are willing to put up with for the sake of our union with Christ becomes how we are lifted up to draw others to the love of the Lord. We preach the love of God for our world with the peace and the gentleness of our lives in the crosses we bear for the sake of a better world in the name of the Lord. We study how to preach by our lives that our example might become the best sermon we can give.We lose our lives in the world that we might preserve it for eternal life. As servants of the Lord we carry the crosses of our daily lives aware that what we put up with for the sake of Christ will be our fame in heaven.
The difficulties of our daily life take on a new meaning when we die with Christ.The joy of the cross is the union our crosses give us with Christ. As we fill up what is wanting to the suffering of his body, the Church, we discover that we are the presence of Christ in our world. The saint is a transparency of Christ. Our little acts of mortification during Lent shout out to the heaven how much we love Christ in the very missing of what we have given up for the sake of Christ. What we offer up to the Lord as our Lenten sacrifices become the love of our lives as we offer what is important to ourselves that we go without for the sake of our world.

* read the date correctly.  2012.  Fr. Joe continues to recover from his recent stroke. Please keep him in your prayers and visit his page at Caring Bridge updates posted by family members. You will need to create a free acco forunt and check back for updates and to leave messages or prayers.  As one person has already commented, God is not finished with Fr. Joe yet! Until further notice, Your Daily Tripod will be reprinting his reflections from Sundays in the Liturgical Cycle B that appeared in prior years.  

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