We hear in our Gospel today about some people who have come to Jerusalem for the Passover. They have heard about this miracle worker named Jesus.  So, they approach a friend of His, Philip, and make a request.

“Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” What would you do if someone made that request of you? “We want to see Jesus. We want to know Him.” What would you say? First, you might have to ask yourself a question: Why are they asking me? Probably for the same reason that those strangers asked Philip. Because they think that you know Him. That you have seen Him.

Can you see Jesus? Yes, you can. Not exactly as He was back then. Not the compassionate healer. The great teacher. Because that is history. But you can see Him. You see, He did not become human only that you might see Him after you die. He did not sweat blood in a garden only so that you might know about Him, like a smart theologian.

He lived and died so that you might know Him, love Him and have direct experience of Him now. And you see Him and know Him the way He told you how – in your brothers and sisters. This is not just pious talk to keep us from beating up on each other. He meant it when He said, “When you take care of the hungry and thirsty, when you clothe the naked, when you visit the sick and those in prison, you are not just doing something nice – you are doing it to Me.”

But it would be a mistake to identify Christ only in the disadvantaged; see His face only in the crucified. All of us reflect the face of the Lord, because God’s own book tells us that we are made in His image and likeness. At this moment, we are the living Christ; the Lord who died and rose for you. Yes, the risen Christ is alive in you.

Do not take my word for it. Listen to His words the night before He died: “If anyone loves Me, my Father will love them. And We will come to them and make Our home with them.”

More than that, in the Eucharist, we welcome the same risen Christ. His body and blood and your body become a tabernacle.

Today, our Gospel is plain. It links an encounter with Christ to the experience of Lent.

And we must keep in mind, Lent is about learning how to die. Not when you’re 90 years old, but today. Die to all that is less than human, less than Christ-like. As time goes on, we experience increasingly some of what Christ went through in His passion. And, you will find for all of life’s joys, human living can tear you apart. The question is: What does it do to you? Does the pain that life can bring lock you into yourself? Hold you captive to your own misery?

Or, does the hurt open you up to others? Because you are beset with weakness, do you deal gently with the weak?

To feel hurt is to be human; to link that hurt to others is to be Christ-like. Lent, Holy Week have an aura of sadness, because it is centered on suffering and death. But there is also joy. Because we know that all His suffering and death was for one reason: It was for us.

Our Lord did not simply suffer and die. He died for us. If He loves us that much, we must be quite special. Quite extraordinary.

The best we can do in return is do not simply live – live for Him. Make Him a part of your life, so if anyone wants to see Jesus, you can say, “Here He is.”

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One thought on “Fr. Bob’s Homily – Fifth Sunday of Lent

  1. This was a beautiful reflection. I pray for the grace and faith to be like Jesus in dealing with others. May God continue to bless you in your ministry. Thank you for the wonderful message.

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