Lord, you are life and truth and goodness. You are alsopeace and mercy. How grateful I am to have this moment to turn to you. Withoutyou I can do nothing good. In fact, when I do good, it is you working throughme, despite my failings. Thank you, Lord. Here I am ready to love you more.
May Ihear your voice, Lord, and not harden my heart to that which you ask of metoday.
1. The Real Enemy:
Todaywe find Jesus in animated conversation with the Jews. They seem to discuss thesame topic – death — but in fact they refer to two very differentunderstandings of one reality. The Jews speak of death in a material way,whereas Jesus speaks of it in a spiritual way, with his description of death offar greater consequence than the former. Christ warns us about the gravity ofspiritual death, which is the consequence of serious sin. This is why theChurch traditionally prays, in the Litany of the Saints, to be freed from mors perpetua (everlasting death), thespiritual death which Jesus warned against. Lent is the time to eradicate allforms of this evil from our lives, especially through the positive practices ofprayer, penance and almsgiving.
2. Only the SpiritGives Life:
Jesus’ interlocutors are never able to penetrate the meaning ofhis words because they think in a purely material way. Only with a spirit offaith and the aid of the Holy Spirit can we understand the things of God.Today’s world is rife with what we could call a spirit of materialism. It looksto material things and values as the solution to everything. But have younoticed how it seems that the more our material wealth and technical capacitygrow, the emptier we become on the inside, and the more hollow our westernculture becomes? Material things are necessary, for we are part matter. But apurely material explanation will never be able to address the deeper needs ofthe human person. As Christ said: “Only the Spirit gives life” (John 6:63).Wemust strive to adopt a spiritual or supernatural way of living and see ourselvesand our world from this point of view, so as not to become blind to a truththat transcends matter.
3. Open to a Challenge:
Jesus’ challenge to raise the eyes of theheart and soul to a spiritual level is met with fierce opposition. In fact, hislisteners want to stone him! Christ always challenges us to go higher. And hedoes this as a manifestation of his love. How do I respond to this challenge inmy own life?
Conversation with Christ:
You have spoken, Lord,
in the silence of my night
and your word has engraved your will in my heart.
Because you spoke,
there is a will in you that I know:
It is the will of your commands.
I want to fulfill that will, Lord.
I want to believe according to your doctrine.
To hope according to your promises.
To love and liveaccording to your guidance and laws.
I willfoster a more spiritual way of seeing myself, others and the world.
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