Homily for 5th Sunday of Lent

Teams, organizations, companies, individuals, etc… often arrive at a place where they realize that the status quo is not acceptable. At times like this it is normal to step up to the white board with a few dry erase pens and start to brainstorm some ideas on how to make the situation better. When this happens, the first thing that is often written down is …

“Do nothing.”

God is very much NOT a “Do nothing” god.

Looking at today’s First Reading from Isaiah, we read God saying,

Remember not the events of the past,
the things of long ago consider not;
see, I am doing something new!
Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

When we want our spiritual situation to be different, the first thing that we must do is choose. This is not just thinking about the various options available to us. We have to intentionally make a decision.

Once you do that, you will almost immediately encounter challenges. Powers of darkness will begin to plant seeds of doubt into your mind. They will remind you of all of the work that will be necessary for you to do to implement that choice. They’ll say that you don’t have what it takes to see it through.

Friends, family and colleagues will also point out faults with your choice. They will show where your cost-benefit analysis is flawed. They will fight you because your choice will be a change in their life - change they they might not want to face.

There is also the simple entropy of human nature. You get tired. Enthusiasm wanes. Problems arise.

These are totally normal. In classical Catholic theology, these have been identified as the three things that counter God’s purpose - “The World, Flesh and the Devil.”

God has a counter-strategy to this unholy alliance.

First, look to people who cherish you and whom you cherish. Who is your Ananias? Look at Acts 9. Ananias was the man sent by God to St. Paul in the midst of Paul’s conversation experience. Ananias stayed with, and walked with Paul, for sometime along that journey. Who walks with you? To whom do you go who holds you accountable? Who looks into your eyes and tell you whether you’re doing well or not? You will probably need more than one person. Different people will be necessary for different reasons in you life. But get someone and talk to them on a regular basis. Once a month is a good rule of thumb.

Finally, there is the Church. You can’t do this alone. You will need God’s grace. You’ll need the close, personal relationship with Christ (in the Eucharist) and God’s mercy and forgiveness (in Confession) when life gets difficult and you mess up.

Lent is a perfect time to see how God is “doing something new” in you life.

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