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April 8, Saturday 5th Week of Lent - Jesuits of North-West Africa Province | Society of Jesus

Saturday, Fifth Week of Lent

April 4, 2017

Ez 37: 21-28/ Jer 31: 10. 11-12abcd. 13/ Jn 11: 45-56

By *Mr. Francis Aziza, SJ

Tomorrow we begin Holy Week where we will be focusing on the events leading to the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As I reflect on the readings of today, they set the tone for the entire Holy Week. In the first reading, God promises, through the Prophet Ezekiel, to bring his own people back to their own land. God declares that he wants to unite all his people from all the nations where they were scattered. God wants to free his people from their sins and to purify them. God reassures the people that they would be his people and he would be their God. In my reflection over the course of the Lenten season, I find that in many ways, I have been separated from God. I recall how much I have sinned against God and against my neighbours. I realize how, due to my selfishness, the three keys of Lent- prayer, fasting and almsgiving have seemed like such a terrible burden to me. I sigh disappointedly as I remember how poorly I have kept some of my Lenten resolutions, such as being a person of greater love, service and charity.

Indeed, the words of God resound in my heart and in my mind. How pleasant it is to realize that God still wants me back as his own. How deeply edifying it is to be once again under the banner of Jesus, to have him as the sole King and ruler of my heart and my life. Yes, it is truly great and indeed that is what happens during Holy Week. God shows how desperately he wants me back. God holds nothing back in order to secure my salvation. That is why he sent Jesus my Lord to pay the ultimate price for my redemption. This Jesus, in the Gospel reading, is a victim of injustice and selfishness which my sins perpetrate in many ways every day.
Contemplating on the Gospel, I feel a deep sense of shame because at so many times and in so many ways, I have allowed evil to thrive due to my silence, my inaction, my passivity, my fear as well as my failure to stand up for the truth, just like the members of the Jewish Council. Caiaphas, the High Priest, suggests that it is better for one man to die than for the whole nation to be destroyed and this kick-started the plot to kill Jesus.

Yet, in the midst of my shame and confusion, I still see God's loving plan at work. What I consider a blatant display of injustice has been transformed into God's means of gathering together into the body of Christ all the scattered people of God, including me.

I feel moved to beg God for the grace to partner with him in his mission to unite all peoples with Christ as our King. I also pray for the courage to resist injustice and other evils in the world.

*Mr. Francis Aziza, SJ, is a Regent Scholastic teaching at St. Francis Catholic School in Idimu, Lagos State, Nigeria. 


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