Rising from the Dead

5th Sunday of Lent Mass Readings

Sunday March 26, 2023

On this 5th Sunday of Lent we learn once again that we will, one day, rise from our tombs. God has promised us that He would do this, as we read in Ezekiel and He even reiterates that He will do it. One thing we must remember about God is that He cannot deceive nor can He be deceived, so we can trust that this will happen on the last day. We will rise from our graves. And what are we rising to? The Final Judgment is what we’re rising to. We have two places to spend eternity: Heaven, beholding the beatific vision (seeing God, face-to-face as He is) or Hell, eternally separated from God, in a pit of hatred and evil, where there is no light, no love, no good. Our destination is our choice; through our actions, we choose.

God has given us the 10 Commandments. That is what He used to begin to form us into His people. As time went on, He gave us more and more to refine us. All along the way, people rebelled against Him. Those who rebel against God, are making their choice. Repentance is always possible, but only up until death. Then it’s up to God in His mercy, but don’t expect that you’ll be forgiven simply because you’re you. That’s a very dangerous gamble. This is reality and as Jesus has reminded us, we don’t know the time nor the day when He will come again, but surely He will and we should be ready.

Not ready in the sense of having your bags packed and your car gassed up, but in the spiritual sense of being right with God. Having repented of your most serious sins takes time and effort, not to mention a very real assessment of where you are spiritually. We’re seriously broken, but we can be repaired. You have to be honest with yourself, though, and acknowledge that you’ve got some repairs to make. Sure, God can do it all for you, but He won’t. He wants participation on your part. He desires you to be close to Him, and He would like for you to desire the same. He gave you free will and He won’t override it. Therefore, you are the one to make the choice.

So, my advice is to start today. Acknowledge your own shortcomings, your sins, and your weaknesses so you can repent of them. What does that look like? It means acknowledging that your sins offend your Creator in His infinite Goodness. Knowing this, if you love Him, you will feel horrible for offending Him, and will want to make amends with Him. So, you confess your sins and reconcile with God, letting Him know how sorry your are for causing strife between the two of you. And you change how you behave, how you live, how you treat others, because you love God and know that He also created all of these other people. And if you don’t find love for God in yourself, then that really is where you need to start. I was once an atheist, and then an agnostic, and now a Roman Catholic Lay Dominican. It’s a journey to know and love God, but it’s not too late to start yours if you haven’t yet. I hope that you will.

We’re all broken in so many different ways. And God knows this. It’s up to us to recognize our own brokenness first, then repent so we can change our ways, and after that, we can recognize brokenness in others and help them to repent and change their ways, too. This has been the way for 2000 years. This is evangelization, this is being Christian, a disciple of Christ. This Lent if you could merely recognize your own brokenness and work to change one thing at a time, it would be a great step forward toward God.

Ms. Renee Valenzuela, OP

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