March 21, 2023
This coming Sunday’s gospel (John 11:1-45) is the moving story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead, in which Jesus reveals Himself as “the Resurrection and the Life”, as the One by Whom, as St. Thomas Aquinas says in “Commentary on the gospel of Saint John” (chapter 11), at the last, “everyone will rise in their souls and in their bodies”.
In the same Commentary, in considering the sisters’ initial message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill”, St. Thomas underscores two things about friendship with God:
We are invited to be friends with Christ (in the deepest not the Facebook sense!). Christ knows what we need and in Him we can have complete confidence. He the friend par excellence, Whose love knows no bounds and Whose faithfulness is perfect. Lent is about divine friendship.
“The Will of God: Food for the Heart?”
In the gospel for this coming Sunday, the third of Lent (John 4:5-42), “the disciples were urging Jesus” to “eat something.’” Jesus appeared to be hungry, and they were being thoughtful. Common sense and common decency. Jesus’ response, however, takes them completely beyond the realm of the common. “He said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about…My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work’.” Huh?
Let us look to two spiritual writers for insights into the mystery of God’s will…
St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Italian Bishop, spiritual writer, theologian, composer, musician, poet, and lawyer (d. 1787) reminds us of the goodness of God’s will:
God wills only our good; God loves us more than anybody else can or does love us. His will is that everyone should save and sanctify his soul…God has made the attainment of our happiness, His glory.
St. Jane Frances de Chantal (d. 1641), a French woman, who, after the death of her husband, founded a community of nuns called Congregation of the Visitation, encourages us to trust in the goodness of God’s will:
When shall it be that we shall taste the sweetness of the Divine Will in all that happens to us, considering in everything only His good pleasure? When shall we cast ourselves undeservedly into the arms of our most loving Father in Heaven, leaving to Him the care of ourselves and of our affairs, and reserving only the desire of pleasing Him, and of serving Him well in all that we can?
Seeking God’s will with you,
The Rev. Dominique Peridans
THE REV. DOMINIQUE PERIDANS