Tuesday, April 4, 2017

What They Have Been Saying (part I) 5th Sunday of Lent Cycle A

“Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”

                                                             Martha, the sister of Lazarus    John 11:27

From the age of 15 through 27, I worked with a priest who used today’s gospel for every funeral at which he presided.  His homily spoke of Martha’s affirmation of faith as a way of overcoming the doubt that creeps in when we are confronted by the death of a loved one.

The gospel stories of the past two weeks contain similar affirmations.   The man who Jesus heals of blindness says “I do believe, Lord” when Jesus reveals to him that He is the Son of Man.  Many Samaritans begin to believe in Jesus because of the words of the woman who shared her belief in Jesus after encountering Him at the well.

These three stories of faith are crucial elements of the journey of the catechumenate; the adults who are in the process becoming in full communion with the Catholic Church.  They are also important for us cradle-Catholics at a time when our faith can feel so counter to the culture in which we live.

Today’s offertory song, “Roll Away the Stone” (#179) captures this counter-cultural nature of our faith in a unique way.  Unlike most of the songs we sing, the text is not full of faith in Jesus, words of scripture or church doctrine.  Instead, it gives voice to the doubts that have crept into the faith lives of the followers of Jesus since His death and resurrection.  

                           They have been saying all our plans are empty.   
                           They have been saying, “Where is their God now?”

                            From “Roll Away the Stone”   Words and music by Tom Conry 

I find the honesty of these words refreshing. They allow me to give voice to my own doubts and insecurities.  They help me think of the inner dialogue; (the things I say to myself) that holds me back from living as God wants me to live.  Perhaps they will help you do the same. 

How then, can we deal with this?

For me, one possibility comes from something Matthew Kelly in his series “Best Lent Ever” when talking about habits.  He said it isn’t enough to will one’s self to stop a bad habit.  The bad habit needs to be replaced by a good habit so it has no room in which to grow back.  

In other words, we need to crowd out our inner dialogue of doubt by replacing it with one of faith.  Thus like the woman at the well, the man with restored sight and Jesus’ beloved friend Lazarus we may see the glory and goodness of God!

Blest to be serving at St. Mary’s,


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