Lent Week 5, 2021
Fifth week of Lent, the final week of preparation to cleanse, refresh, and attentive to receive the Grace of God to refashion to the proper and original image of us. This season of Lent is a time of special grace in which we experience the real presence of a personal God who cares and loves us. Our response is to transform ourselves and live according to his will. We want to do something new and come to him in obedience and freedom. Before him, we acknowledge our weakness, and we know that he is the one who supports us and builds with us a new relationship. We ought to change our lives during Lent and come closer to him to make this time a joyful time because it is our preparation for the future joy of Easter that approaches us bringing his blessings, mercy, and forgiveness forever.
Interestingly, we have been experiencing the steadfast Love of God through our ongoing Covenant of God. It is also reiterated in the first reading today; a God who never gives up on us is looking beyond the failure of his people and takes the initiative to establish a new covenant with us, “I will be their God, and they shall be my people”. Those who stay in this covenant and acknowledge His teaching will be able to receive the holiness of life to live in His glorified Grace as He says, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sins no more.”
The time has come for the eternal Covenant to be made right away, the one and only Covenant forever for which he is speaking of the “Hour”. We have seen in the past weeks many signs of covenant including the rainbow in the sky. But this everlasting covenant is in the form of a cross “lifted up and exalted”.
The hour that is referred to is the moment of his death which is a permanent saving event. It is that moment when God fully glorifies Jesus, raised up and exalted on the cross, which now becomes the sign of his total victory forever and for everyone.
The hour of the Lord is real for us when we come into the Church and meditate before the Cross, or just look at it, and then it hits us, “My God, Jesus, you did this for me? How much must you love me?” The hour of the Lord is real for us when we feel united to him on his cross, drawn to him as the Gospel prophesied, and lifted up from the burdens of this life into the realm of the spiritual. And Jesus said, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”
The world lives in this moment, this hour. Whether we stood at the foot of the cross like Mary and John or whether we were born two thousand years later, the hour is real to us. We are there. We are always before the Lord on the cross. We kneel during the Eucharistic Prayer of the Mass and pray to the Father with the Lord as he offers his Body and Blood for us. Every Holy Mass renews the hour. Through the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ, his hour has become our hour, his death has become our life, our deaths have become his life, his love.
Death and life are united. Sacrifice and gift are merged. Love Conquers All. This is why we honor and adore the cross, we wear crosses around our necks respectfully, the purpose of our lives is to realize, to make real, the love of Christ in our homes and in our lives. We must allow Christ’s love to direct our lives.
Oh! The power of the cross! The power of the love of God! The central moment of human history! “The hour!”