Saturday, April 04, 2020

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent

One of the things I am doing to use this time as wisely as possible is to clean, empty closets, simply my life from some of the clutter. I want to be able to share some of the books, clothes, and other possessions I thought so necessary when I purchased. Perhaps they were but many were not.

As we are about to begin Holy Week, I just finished praying over the readings for today’s Mass and Ezekiel, the great Old Testament prophet, who describes a beautiful vision of hope. The people of Israel were divided among themselves, eventually splitting in two parts: the north and the south. It would eventually get even worse. The Chosen People would all be exiled and dispersed in foreign lands, e.g., Babylon.

Ezekiel says they ALL will be gathered together as ONE, in one land, worshipping ONE God and they will be a sign to other nations of this wonderful, loving God. This beautiful vision can only happen when we SHARE what we have, not the superfluous things that come from our closets that we don’t need anymore, but those “things” that hit much closer to home and heart : our love, mercy, time, energy. Sharing these realities, freely, demands much more sacrifice than cleaning out all the clutter. Let’s be honest, we end up feeling good about ourselves when we unload the bags of clothes and “stuff” in the Good Will or at Salvation Army. And yes, these will help others. That’s not the point because usually we give away that which we don’t use anymore or that which we have never used. How many of us give away a coat/suit/shirt we absolutely “love” or other possessions we treasure?

But the sharing that Ezekiel is speaking, the sharing that brings us together, heals divisions, and becomes a beacon of hope for other people, is a much more demanding sharing. Jesus is the One whose vision and gospel are meant to make this vision a concrete reality NOW. And His vision culminated/began on the Cross, when he shared his entire life with the whole world.

When we walk with Christ the way of the Cross, his Cross and ours, may we let go of the “clutter” of bitterness, envy, bigotry, rigid attitudes, apathy; these are harbored in the most hidden closets within our hearts and they are far from being superfluous. These realities must not be shared or spread but let go of and eliminated from spreading like a virus. They are the “things” preventing Ezekiel’s great vision from becoming a reality.

What “inner darkness” do you want to let go of and what “inner beauty” do you want to share, that will be a force of unity, bringing people together?

Fr. Frank