YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 5TH SUNDAY OF LENT
HOMILY THEME: SYMBOL OF RENEWAL
BY: Christ in the Desert Monastery, Abiquiu, New Mexico
HOMILY: My sisters and brothers in Lord,
As we approach the last weeks of Lent, how about a jolt of renewal? The Six Million Dollar Man captured our imaginations in the 1970s and was a symbol of renewal. The American science fiction and action television series was about a former astronaut, Colonel Steve Austin, portrayed by American actor Lee Majors. Austin has superhuman strength due to bionic (technology enhanced legs, arm, and an eye) implants. Those acquainted with the series probably can remember the closing lines of the opening sequence for the television show: “We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better… stronger…faster.” Similarly, The Israelites receive a gift of renewal that prepares them for challenges that they will face ahead.
The Prophet Isaiah tells us in the first reading today: “Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something new!” What is this prophecy of a new thing? This prophecy indicates the coming of the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit who was active in creation and would provide consolation and hope to the people. What better words to hear at this juncture during our Lenten observance! Centuries later, the early disciples of Christ would remember this message and recognize renewal in relationship to Jesus.
From the Letter to the Philippians, Saint Paul tells us that no pleasure, gift, talent, or riches can rival the invaluable blessing of possessing Christ. As Christian disciples we are expected to put everything at the service of our relationship with Christ. Through Christ our relationship with His Father has changed. A renewal has taken place because He demonstrated His love for us by living among us.
The Gospel of John lays bare how Jesus living among us showed us mercy and forgiveness. Jesus shows His loving kindness to the woman caught in adultery. The mercy of God does not condone sin but rather compassionately recognizes repentance and grants forgiveness. The experience of Christ’s love provides an opportunity to move forward in a renewed life of holiness. Why should we think that He would not show us the same loving kindness? We can accept His invitation to believe, to move forward, and to walk the path as His followers. Especially at this time of Lent. No matter how much we may stumble and fall, He is always there, inviting us to be with Him, renewing us, urging us to begin again.
Our Christian life is about meeting Jesus every day and knowing that His love for us is ever new. Life in Christ gives us strength to overcome difficulties that come into our lives. This Lententide is not about being perfect. Rather, it is about learning to follow the Lord Jesus as best we can, always relying on His love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness. Let us ask during this Lent: Lord Jesus, renew us with your love.