From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

March 29 – Fifth Sunday in Lent

Our gospel this weekend is the story of Jesus bringing back to life Lazarus from Bethany.  Of particular note is the end of the passage when Jesus cries out in a loud voice “Lazarus, come out.”  And when Lazarus came out, he instructed them to “untie him and let him go.” There was no need for Jesus to call to Lazarus to come out, nor to have other unbind him.  These actions were not for Jesus’s benefit, but rather for ours.   While he calls each of us from the death and darkness of sin (particularly through our baptism), we each also have a responsibility to help one another overcome the sins and challenges that bind us up each day.  We are to free others from their difficulties in life.  In so doing, we come to believe because we see the power of God manifested through those actions.  During these difficult times, when we are separated from one another, we need to reach out in friendship and love to support one another.  We must listen in prayer for the voice of our Lord over the noise of the COVID-19.  He tells us, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you always!”  He calls for us to embrace one another during the difficulties of our lives.

 As Vincentians, our call to holiness comes through the unbinding of the poor and less fortunate.  As we unbind them from their challenges in life, they unbind us from our prejudices, from our pride, and from our self-centeredness.  We grow in our humility and patience and the Spirit of God comes to dwell fully in us and we come to know the Lord that we may believe.  We become as the woman at the well, the man blind from birth and, Mary from the gospel this week, saying, “Yes Lord, I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God.”  We must tap into our charism of friendship to both our neighbors and to one another.  As Jesus reaches back to each of us through the Eucharist (the Thanksgiving of love eternal), we must become like Eucharist to one another.  We may be separated in distance but we must be one in thought and caring.  Do I make extra efforts to call others, be sensitive to others, and address the needs of my neighbors, brothers and sisters?  Do I embrace others from afar with zeal, love and concern?

Lord Jesus, grace me with your presence even absent the sacrament.  Help me with my fears.  Let me help others with theirs.  Allow me to find new ways to be your presence to others.    Let me be your instrument that others may come to know you through me.  Reveal to me your spirit of faith and hope through those whom you bring to me.  Allow me to join the woman at the well, the blind man and Mary of Bethany proclaiming your goodness and testifying to your Word though my words and actions. Now more than ever, let your love for us and our love for others overcome our physical distancing.  We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

Deacon Mike