Lenten reflection: Week 5

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Fr Cosmas Lee and the elect with their sponsors during the scrutiny on the 5th Sunday of Lent. – pix by Douglas Yu

‘Jesus is the resurrection and the life’

“MY dear elect, brothers and sisters in the Lord,

Scripture says ‘our life is over like a breath’… Our life lasts for 70 years, and 80 for those who are strong. In the last month or two, so many of our senior parishioners, the blue blood parishioners of St Simon (Church), are beginning to show that they have reached the end of their lifespan.

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Last of a Series: Lenten reflection by Fr Cosmas Lee. Read previous part HERE.

Even last night I had to rush to a house to see one of our very prominent parishioners and had to tell him and commended him to enter the next stage of his life. Life in the flesh, life on Earth is very short. If that’s all we have, it’s a terrible deal. It will not make sense to the deepest craving of our heart and our spirit.

In the very worldly society that we live in, people laugh at life after death. They laugh at it and think that it’s but an illusion.

If the 70 and 80 years are all we have, it’s gone like a breath and we will be desperados, as I told the children: that’s it – after that nothing. We will grab everything for ourselves, we will behave like animals; living for nothing else except for the 70 or 80 years.

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Imagine that selfish world where everyone lives only for that little breath on this Earth. We will all be like rats, killing each other, trying to make the best of this 70 or 80 years.

Look at the desperation around us… we think that either we make it or break it then we’re done. That’s it. But our heart knows because our Spirit was created by God, that we are more than that. We might have lost it because of our own fault and our sins.

But today, at the culmination of our Sunday Lenten catechesis, we proclaim, ‘Jesus is the resurrection and the life’ – that our faith is founded on nothing less than the fact that Jesus rose from the dead. St Paul tells us, ‘If Christ was not risen from the dead, our faith is in vain and we are the most pitiful people in the world’.

And so today, brothers and sisters, we have come to the 5th Sunday in Lent. We hear that Jesus, not just the one that overcame sin in the desert; He was not just the one that climbed the mountain and became the splendour of God’s life; not just the Living Water; not just the Light – He is the resurrection and the life… and ‘he who believes in Him even if he dies will live forever and anyone who believes in him shall not die’.

The promise was made already in the time of the Prophet Ezekiel when, through the prophet, God said: ‘I will raise you from the grave, my people and I will take you to your own soil’. It isn’t the soil of Israel or Palestine – no! ‘Once I have given you my Spirit, I will take you to where you belong – with me, forever’.

Promise has been made us. As St Paul in the 2nd reading reminds us, ‘How do we only live for 70 or 80 years? And how do we live for eternity?’ He named these two types of living:

  • spiritual
  • unspiritual.

The spiritual is one who would listen to God, live even within this very brief 70 or 80 years in the spirit of Jesus – in all that Jesus stands for. That’s living in the spirit of Jesus.

The unspiritual life is nothing else except to put the body and soul together to entertain this little lump of flesh, nothing more. And we don’t follow any command of love or mercy.

But this is our choice. If our life on Earth is but a very brief beginning of eternity, it makes sense. We will not be blackmailed, we will not be threatened by the dead end.

Jesus shows the courage when He heard that His good friend Lazarus was ill, He almost deliberately waited for another two days. He was not scared whether there was time or not, because He says, ‘his death will now show the glory of God’.

This is extremely important because the mystery we want to celebrate as we prepare for Easter is this: That the greatest promise God gives us is that if we believe in the Lord Jesus, we will live forever.

I really pray that all of us in this last week before Palm Sunday will have that new horizon. When we leave this Church, we will have that new horizon: ‘I’m not scared of the limit of time! But I will live every minute, every second, for immortality.’

Remove all the fears we have that the world teaches us: There is a ‘quota’, there’s a deadline – not that we’re irresponsible!

Let’s pray for our elect, that they too may be filled with this sense of infinite-ness that God gives us through Jesus because we will be raised from the dead. And this will give that quality of love and mercy in everything we do as we live day by day.”

 

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