This year was no different in that, but what was different was that this Lent, it seems like the devil was on the prowl ever more swiftly. I have had a number of serious "run-ins" with him over these past few weeks, both in my personal life and via the trappings of our fallen world. All the events in that time came to a head for me this morning as I followed along during the remembrance of the Passion, and listened to the short homily given by our resident Deacon.
The theme of the homily focused on the words "Crucify Him!" In utter grief and conviction, it was hard to not tear up during the reading of the actions and words expressed by that crowd so long ago. Appropriately, Deacon Hall paralleled those two condemning words with our actions of today. How many times have we said them in our hearts every time we've chosen to sin? How many times have we basically spit on the saving grace of our Lord, given to us through His death and resurrection, each time we choose that which we know is wrong? Or every time we've given in to the temptations of Satan and allowed evil to infiltrate our lives? Or every time we decided we were happy with where we were in our relationship (or lack thereof) with Christ; feeling no need to better it? And what about every time we've stood silent in the face of injustice? Every time we've not taken the opportunity to lovingly admonish our family or friends when they do something that goes against God?
As I thought about my own sins, my thoughts stemmed out to those of the whole world. During Lent one of my "additions" has been to say a Divine Mercy Chaplet every single day. Though I regretfully have missed a day here and there, as I made it a habit, I became more and more aware of the power of this prayer and the need for it. If there is anything out there in the world recently that is more telling of the need for Christ and His Mercy, it is the horrific event that happened in Steubenville last Summer; brought to light as the trial took place last week, ending in the conviction of the two young men involved.
Where is the world going when we just stand by and allow such trauma to happen to a young girl and not only do NOTHING, but spread it across every avenue of social media as if it is a joke? Where is the world going when we don't teach our children to respect other people? To treat people as human beings with value instead of something to be used and consumed? Where is the world going when we as adults allow our children to drink to the point of debilitation, and even supply them with the alcohol? Where is this world going when we try to place the blame on the victim of a heinous crime, instead of where it truly belongs?
Where are we going when we choose to crucify Jesus Christ over and over again in our actions, and in total disregard for the fact that He GAVE HIS LIFE FOR US?
How far removed are we from reality that these things are considered status quo? Where is the conviction? Where is the responsibility?
As I sat in the pew after Mass today, completely exhausted and emotionally spent from the reality of Christ's suffering and death, and every thought that had converged on me during the Mass, I realized how in my own life, there have been times when I have been quite stagnant with my faith. There have been times when I have felt "happy where I am" in my relationship with God, and have not wanted to make the effort to delve in deeper, go to places I know are hard, sacrifice more, or be humbled and broken further. And though it seems that I would be happier to stay where I am, the truth is, I am not. I suffer endlessly because of it. I have rejected Christ, and in essence, I have crucified Him all over again. And every single time I sin, that is what I am doing. Crucifying Jesus Christ.
The exciting thing is, that the HOPE found in Christ's resurrection is a powerful assertion that no matter what, when we return to Him, He will welcome us with open arms. When we seek Him out, when we call to Him, when we ask Him to remember us and have mercy on us, we remove the paralysis and continue on in our journeys toward Him. All are forgiven in His name. All have access to the gift of His passionate love and saving grace. When we find ourselves longing for His Kingdom and asking Him to humble us and help us enter into a deeper relationship with Him, the temptations and evils and selfishness of a worldly life don't look as exciting in comparison. It is then that the horrifying reality of sin is more tangible to us, when disrespecting and traumatizing other people isn't viewed as a joke, when the reality of social media being a tool of the devil is realized. It is then that Christ's death - a death meant to save us from our sins - is enough to make us turn away from sin. It is then that we are turned on to the call of God in our lives, and we fall all over ourselves in attempts to answer Him.
|Jesus Christ suffered THIS for YOU!|