Passiontide and Doing God’s Will
Today, the Fifth Sunday of Lent, is the beginning of ‘Passiontide’. The gravity of this time is brought home to us vividly by the veiling of all the statues and crosses in the church. The crosses are veiled to remind us of the humiliation of Our Lord in having to go into hiding in order to avoid being stoned, and the statues are veiled because the servants should make themselves inconspicuous when the glory of the Master is eclipsed. These signs are there to help us prepare for the great mystery of our redemption. So we now unite ourselves to the sufferings of Our Lord so that we may not only recognise the gravity of sin, but also to recognise God’s great love for us, and the terrible price He paid to expiate sin in our place.
In today’s Gospel JESUS says, “Unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest.” He is speaking here of His own humiliating death on the cross which will bring about our redemption. But He is also referring to us, His followers, because He then says, “Anyone who loves his life loses it, anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for the eternal life.” Our Lord doesn’t mean we must literally hate life. He means we must be prepared to surrender our wills, our desires, our plans, and if necessary, even our lives to God. God’s Will has to come before everything else. We have to do our best to follow His Will even if it’s going to be difficult or inconvenient for us to do so. JESUS was willing to do anything to obey His Father’s Will and that is why He was glorified. He asks the same of us.
Throughout the world today many Christians suffer and are sometimes even martyred for their faith in Christ. There are also many unsung heroes we don’t know about who struggle and do daily battle with themselves to be faithful followers of Christ. God calls each of us in different ways and will reward us for all our efforts. By being faithful we can accomplish great things. In getting up early every Sunday morning and coming to Mass, parents set a good example for their children which will hopefully set them up for life. When you give money to a charity instead of spending it on yourself, or you are polite to someone who is normally rude to you, or when you do a favour for someone even if it’s not convenient, you are allowing God’s grace to work through you. These seemingly insignificant things might be a part of God’s bigger plan which could set in motion a chain of events which will bring about many graces to many people. The fruits may only be revealed to us in the life to come, but let us not limit what God can accomplish through us. Be open to what He is asking of you.
Fr Paul Gillham, IC