Fifth Sunday of Lent (April 7, 2019)

Today’s readings promise us a life that never dies if we live and believe in the Spirit of Jesus Christ who dwells in us. St. Francis de Sales reflects on these promises: “When the falconer removes the hood from his bird, the bird sights its prey and spreads its wings, ready to fly and capture its prey. Held back by the falconer, the bird struggles to free itself from him. So too when faith removes the veil of ignorance from us, we see that our supreme good is in God. We then desire to fly to God but the conditions of this mortal life hold us back. Our ardor may subsequently turn to sadness.

However, we must not lose courage and reduce ourselves to despair. Through a thousand promises made in Scripture and the holy inspirations placed in our heart, God strongly assures us that we can attain a life of infinite goodness. Yet, we must be willing to use the means God offers us. If you live under the Crucified Lord, progressively your desire for God’s goodness turns into hope animated by God’s love. Our Savior will never let you go if you choose Him. When you are completely restored to health by divine love that the Spirit of Jesus pours into your heart, you can go forward and stand by yourself in virtue of your new health and holy love.

While our human nature will always produce self-centered desires and thoughts, they need not delay us on our journey toward loving God’s goodness and doing God’s work. Happy are they whose self-giving love is in the service of God. God will never let them remain barren and unfruitful! Even though they give up only a little for God, God will shower abundant blessings on them in this life and in the next. God’s assurance through many promises of paradise infinitely strengthens our desire to pursue the enjoyment of God’s goodness in Jesus Christ whose Spirit dwells in us.

(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales).