This is the first of a six-part Lenten Retreat where Fr. Andrew reflects on a different aspect of the Stations of Cross each night. In this presentation Jesus is the key to help us understand how we confront the injustices and evils in our lives.
Noah’s ark is a well known passage of Genesis that captures the imagination. Confronting wickedness and sin, the ark is a sign of hope in which God offers us a way forward – inviting us to mirror this example as we now prepare to embark on the season of Lent tomorrow.
In the midst of the Christmas season we see the harsh consequences of human sin. The massacre of the innocent children demands that we carry out the teaching of Christ as we strive to protect those who are most vulnerable.
St. Paul’s letter to the Romans teaches that we die to sin and rise with Christ, and as we place our hope in the Lord we have a strength to confront the darkness and evil that we uncover lurking in our hearts.
The actions of Jezebel and Ahab in the Book of Kings reveal the stark reality of sin – in our hearts, families and communities. Our response? The teaching and command of Christ to unite and heal as we bring a radical compassion to those around us.
The readings this Sunday all come with an edge to them, signifying that there’s a lot at stake in a life of faith. Take a look:
1st Reading – Jeremiah praises the Lord even as he recognizes the evil of others.
Psalm – “Lord, in your great love answer me.”
2nd Reading – Sin and death came through Adam; grace and peace come through Jesus Christ.
Gospel – The Lord will acknowledge those who acknowledge Him, and he will deny those who deny him.
These readings address the reality of sin and evil in our world. We know this reality through our experience, and whether through our own actions or the actions of others we recognize that the human heart has the capacity for sin.
Yet we also recognize that God’s grace is greater than the darkness. This is why Christ came into the world! Through the Lord’s cross and resurrection we have hope to call upon Heaven for the strength, courage and wisdom we need to face the challenges of life.
Have we sinned? Then we seek reconciliation and forgiveness. Have we been wounded by wickedness and evil? Then we call upon the Lord’s grace.
The triumph of Jesus Christ inspires us to follow the example of Jeremiah and Paul – acknowledging the Lord in this world so that we can be with Him in the next!
Note: This post was first published on June 19, 2017.
The readings today remind us of the reality of evil and its blinding presence in our lives. Yet as we confront the darkness of sin we find that our help comes from the light of Christ, who gives us the courage and strength we need.
We find in today’s gospel passage the stark evil surrounding the death of John the Baptist. All the elements in this passage are evil, driven by pride, hatred and jealousy. Our response? The Cross of Christ.