Saturday, March 24, 2012

Brian’s Reflection: Sunday, March 25, 2012

… You alone can bring into order
the unruly wills and affections of sinners …

from the Collect for the Fifth Sunday in
Lent, Year B, Revised Common Lectionary

[ The full text of the Readings for the Fifth Sunday in Lent can be found at: ]

We human beings are forever hopeful that things will change for the better. Indeed, we humans have “unruly wills and affections” … and always will have in this Life. So, the Collect voices our eternal hope that “God” will “fix it”. However, as my esteemed colleague Fr. Harry Cook points out in his new book “Long Live Salvation by Works: A Humanist Manifesto”, Faith without Works (as the Scripture also says) doesn’t accomplish much!

“Create in me a clean heart, O God” says the Psalm; “renew a right spirit within me”. Again, more hope for an “external” fix. But the Psalm says nothing like, “Work with me God, and I’ll work hard at doing what I need to do for Your love and grace to change me”!

The reading from Hebrews points out that Jesus constantly went to His heavenly Father “with loud cried and tears” … and the Gospel shows that Jesus worked hard at manifesting God’s compassion, justice, love, healing, etc. Jesus is, of course, “the God-in-us” … so the point is made that we must work constantly at finding the blazing presence of God-in-us … and manifesting it in “Good Works” which speak both of “God” and of our realized human and personal nature. As the Greeks express to Philip in the reading from John, “We would see Jesus”.

The message in the John reading is clear: Jesus says, “Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” We must get beyond our half-baked concept of who we are as human beings, and embrace our identity with “God” … meaning with the qualities we have attributed to God … Love, Gentleness, Kindness, Self-giving and more.

“When I am lifted up” … says Jesus in the Gospel passage. Meaning: When we get our act together, the World will be transformed.

Wouldn’t that be delightful.


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