No Time to Wallow in the Mire
“We should all realize that no matter where or how a man dies, if he is in the state of mortal sin and does not repent, when he could have done so and did not, the Devil tears his soul from his body with such anguish and distress that only a person who has experienced it can appreciate it.” ~ St. Francis of Assisi
The walls continue to close in on Jesus in today’s Gospel (John 8:21-30) as we journey towards the crescendo that is the Easter Triduum. “I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin” is the enigmatic prognostication that Jesus makes to open this passage, leading those on hand to speculate and wonder out loud what he meant. Some speculated that he was foreshadowing his own suicide.
Upon hearing this, Jesus explains to them that he is of the Father, not belonging to this world but instead to that which is “from above.” Those who reject him, similar to those who reject Jesus and his message of repentance and conversion in today’s vapid and secular world, mire in that “which is below,” namely idolatry, anxiety, grudges, prejudice and vanity just to name a few. “This is why I told you,” Jesus reiterates, “that you will die in your sins.”
In Sunday’s 2nd Reading (Romans 8:8-11), Saint Paul reminds us that “if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit dwelling in you.” This great message of hope, so desperately needed in light of this mysterious pandemic that continues to wreak destruction of life in this world, reminds us that our short and fleeting time on this Earth is not the final act. To quote Saint John Paul II, “we are the Easter people, and hallelujah is our song.”
Moving on from the mire and self-sabotage of sin must be our most urgent goal during this Lenten Season. To broker meaningful change in our lives through self-examination, repentance and a willingness to unconditionally forgive others as well.
“Repent, and believe the good news” were the words uttered as ashes were rubbed on the collective foreheads of the faithful at the beginning of this Lenten Season. May those words continue to each and resonate throughout this Lenten Season. May they be the key ingredient in the spiritual recipe that brings us all to a vibrant life in the spirit, a heavy dwelling place in God’s Heavenly Kingdom.
“We adore you O Christ and we praise you. For by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.”