Homily Fifth Sunday of Lent Year B
If you think back to Ash Wednesday as you set out on the Lenten journey were you full of hope that finally, this lent, you would get it right, and have a more meaningful lent than heretofore? There would be an abundance of Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. We now arrive at the fifth Sunday of lent and possibly have to ask ourselves, what happened, I didn’t engage with the season as I had originally hoped. Is it too late? No. Of course not. For with God, it is never too late. There is still time. In the coming week I can renew my effort. Jesus asked Peter, James & John in Gethsemane for one hour. We have a week. So much can happen in the fifth week of lent before we enter Holy Week. He asked for one hour only. It is not too late.
There is a moving scene in the film “Walk the Line” when the young Johnny Cash is with his brother who is dying and he calls on the doctor and those present to “do something”. This coming week, if lent has “not happened” for you, do something. Do what? Anything. Say the Rosary. If you can’t say the Rosary, say a decade. If you can’t say a decade, say a Hail Mary. If you can’t say a Hail Mary, say Mary. Do something.
Lent requires effort. Some have described the pandemic as the long lent. I disagree. The pandemic and all the necessary constraints are imposed on us to guard us from the virus. Lent has to be entered into freely. It is a season of invitation. Lent has the potential to be grace filled. The Psalmist who calls out to God, “Put a steadfast spirit within me” knows that distractions will come and a steadfast spirit is required. To be steadfast requires more than patience. Perhaps it could be described as patient endurance. To stay on the journey in order to reach the final destination requires this grace.
A professional golfer was once heard to remark “there is no money short of the flag”.
Unless the grain of wheat falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain, but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest. No money short of the flag. The grain of wheat has to die in order to bear fruit. Jesus has to die in order to glorify the Father’s name, in order to bear fruit. But, my God, what wonderful fruit it is, the fruit of the forgiveness of sins, of the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.
In the Gospel we read that some Greeks from Bethsaida approached Philip wanting to see Jesus. The whole world is now looking for Him. You also look for Him. You seek Him out. You have had to be content for much of the last year meeting him spiritually, through prayer and reflection on the Word. Some have said that this will hasten what they see as an inevitable fracture between a section of the community, the eucharistic celebration and therefore the church. Could it not have the opposite effect? Could this time of Eucharistic privation nurture in us a deep longing to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. Could this time of reflection on what is of ultimate importance in life, not come up with the answer, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Something perhaps to pray about this week, because, it’s never too late.