Archives for March 2014
Today’s gospel story of the healing of the man born blind appears seven times in artwork in the catacombs of ancient Rome. Since the early Christians were persecuted by the Romans, they literally went underground in the labyrinth of interconnected tombs to celebrate Baptism, the Eucharist, and the other sacraments. In the darkness of these catacombs they heard this gospel and contemplated the corresponding art to learn about what it means to be baptized persons.
The words of Jesus, “I am the light of the world,” echo throughout the Christian centuries even to our day. Enlightenment, belief, conversion, “now I see,” are all experiences of the power of the light of Christ over any shadow of darkness.
Lent is about intensifying our walk in the light of Christ. It is about appreciating the difference it makes to be persons washed anew in the saving waters of Baptism. How do you experience this saving light?
The imagery of water is rich in the Liturgy this Third Sunday of Lent. The Israelites express their frustration with their experience of physical thirst as they wander in the desert. A woman comes to a well with her water jay to draw water. Jesus comes to the same well but without a water jar. [Interesting]
In John’s Passion Narrative, as Jesus hangs on the cross, he says, “I thirst.” This thirst is about more than for water. The Lord Jesus desires (thirsts for) us. This is expressed in the Preface for the Eucharistic Prayer today: “So ardently did he (Jesus) thirst for her faith, that he kindled in her the fire of divine love.”
Think about your experience of thirst, including your thirst for God and what is of God. When do you most keenly experience this thirst? How do you experience God’s thirst for you and your faith?
The Liturgy of the Word for this Second Sunday of Lent begins with a snapshot of the story of Abraham. God asks Abraham to go forth from the familiarity of his family and home to a land that God will show him (which God does not specify). Paul reminds us that God has called us from the grip of sin to a holy life. Jesus leads his three close friends from their current sense of who he is to a glorious and transfigured picture of himself.
This journey from something to something else is what the Lenten season is all about. It takes trust, hope, and a willingness to be led by God to undertake such a journey.
Think about God’s opportunity for you this Lent. From what is God calling you? Is it from being stuck, a sense of wandering, being overly comfortable, a kind of restlessness? The other side of the coin is to what is God calling you? Is it greater trust in God, wanting Christ to be more part of your life, hoping to be more led by the Holy Spirit?