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Pastor's Column

Taking A Risk for God

Pastor’s Column

Fifth Sunday of Lent

March 17, 2024

Photo by Giuseppe Russo (from Pexels)

This Sunday's Gospel contains a paradox that never fails to disturb us if we ponder it deeply: "Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies it remains only a single grain, but if it dies it yields much fruit."  Jesus goes on to say that "Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world preserves it for eternal life”  (from John 12:20–33).

This gospel speaks of the need to take risks for God in our spiritual lives. We can't afford to play it too safe in this world because our time on earth is limited. For example, the effort I make during Lent is a pretty good indication of what I'm going to get out of it later. The same is true of life itself. God will periodically inspire us to take risks for our faith: it might be something as simple as attending a class or getting involved in a group here at the parish, coming to daily Mass more often, being a part of one of our outreach ministries, or going to the adoration chapel more often. Or, perhaps, the Lord is calling for something risky in our personal lives.

Of course, getting involved with God on any level is a risk. There's always the risk that he might ask for more! Why might he do this? Because he loves us and he wants us to be fully happy in heaven and for that we must sacrifice now. Sometimes we see the real risk as giving up some sin or habit that is separating us from fellowship with God. Why not take the risk to pray more often? Why not take the risk to trust God even when it's difficult? Why not take the risk to begin to give up that addiction by seeking help, or to go to marriage counseling if you need it, or to tithe more if you're prone to being too selfish?

We don't get anywhere in life without risk when you think about it. Most financial gain, for example, involves some risk. Jesus often uses examples of money and in how we have used our talents that we’re given will determine our reward.

Taking the risk of dying to ourselves and for God is not really risk at all, for God will always bless us for these sacrifices. Sometimes even apparent failure is a blessing, for that too can lead to glory, just as it did for Christ on the cross. Did anything look more like a failure than Christ’s death did at the time? Yet this was the greatest act of selflessness in human history. The entire future of your life, or that of many others, may hang on your taking just one risk for God right now. Remember that single grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies: this is when it yields much fruit.

Father Gary ~


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