5th Sunday of Lent
April 7, 2019
For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things, and I consider them so much rubbish
that I may gain Christ and be found in him. I depend on faith to know him and the power of his resurrection, and the sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection of the dead!
When I was in Lisieux, France, I picked up a holy card of St. Theresa of Lisieux from her convent. There is a phrase of hers on it that can be a “Rule of Life” for us that says, Let us keep our eyes fixed on heaven, the one true object of our labors.
In this frequently confusing and often difficult world that we live in, Scripture clarifies clearly what goal we are all actually meant to be working toward …. The resurrection of the dead! Our goal is heaven, that is, moving into the home of Jesus Christ. To never lose sight of heaven as our goal gives all of life purpose and meaning, even our sufferings. God will work everything to good for our future with him if we permit him to do so.
Once we realize that there is life after death, our perspective immediately changes. Things in our lives begin to take on their proper order. Even the worst crises and sufferings that life may dish out to us are now seen as temporary, even meaningful in the light of the eternity that lies just ahead. Saint Paul went so far as to say that everything in his former way of life that did not lead to Christ he now considered as “rubbish”!
Let us take inventory of our lives. What areas of my daily activities are leading me away from Christ? Am I on the right road, the one that leads to heaven? Most of us, for example, try to avoid suffering at all costs, but this is not how it was for St. Paul. He never lost sight of heaven because God let him actually see heaven. He thus realized that a true follower of Christ will wish to imitate Christ’s suffering and death so as to arrive at the resurrection of the dead.
Examples of this way of living, for example, can include being willing to say we’re sorry to someone when wronged, or having the humility to go to confession and receive absolution from Christ. It can mean accepting a difficult trial or illness, just as Christ accepted his passion before the resurrection took place. Suffering, acts of humility, dying to ourselves: life offers us many opportunities like these both great and small. Our Lord wishes to work every single one of them to good in our lives, if like St. Paul, we keep the goal of heaven before our eyes while we go through these things.