5th Sunday in Lent (April 10, 2011)

Slowly but surely Holy Week and Easter approach. The last couple of Sundays, plus this coming Sunday, we’ve been reading from the Gospel of John at Mass. Every one of those stories has a theme of light and darkness – the notion of light plays a prominent part in John’s Gospel.

Each of the stories also displaysa certain aspect of Jesus. The story of the man born blind is presented to us so that Jesus could be seen as the one who had been sent to free us from darkness. The woman at the well is a story of thirst, so that Jesus could be presented at the Living Water. After Easter we’ll be hearing the story of the multiplication of the loaves, presented to show Jesus as the fulfillment of our hungers. And this weekend, in the raising of Lazarus from the dead, we see the Lord who came to give us Life, not just eternal life, but the fullness of earthly life too.

Every one of the stories ends with some statement of belief. On Sunday, for example, we’ll hear that “many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what He had done began to believe in Him.”

You and I have suffered hunger, thirst, loss, and blindness in our lives, sometimes literally. It’s all part and parcel of being human. We may try for awhile to fix things on our own, but sooner or later realize that there are some things in our lives that just aren’t fixable without some kind of divine assistance. It also helps to remember that Jesus actually sought out every one of those people he helped…and he continues to seek us out and ask if we want his help. Only a fool would say no!

Trouble is, we are saint and sinner, foolish and smart. We’re nearly always gonna try to fix things on our own before throwing up our hands and praying:”Jesus I need your help.” I just wish that someday I’d learn to be a bit faster in turning to Jesus for help instead of trying everything myself. Jeez, we humans are dense! Or at least the writer of this reflection is!!

Be God’s smile for someone today!

Herb Yost, CSC

Fr. Herb, C.S.C.

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