8th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Psalm 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16 (see 2a)
1 Corinthians 15:54-58
February 27, 2022
In Sirach we hear, “so in tribulation is the test of the just.”
We face “tribulation” (i.e. distress) in our world today.
We face it in hearing, maybe even experiencing for ourselves, of violent acts like mass shootings.
We face distress in how the COVID pandemic has affected our lives. We were shutdown. We were social distancing. We lost loved ones. At times facemasks are still required. Surges in cases continues to cause distress.
Some people have not returned to church following the COVID. Some because of real health concerns. We pray for them. Others have lost the practice of coming to church or maybe even lost faith. We pray for them.
We face tribulation in the loss of the respect for all life. Society is decaying as immorality is increasing. We pray for all to look at the signs of the times through the light of faith. As the “sieve is shaken,” may we recognize our sins and hand them over to God.
Now, a new tribulation has surfaced. Russia has attacked the Ukraine. It is distressing. In our opening prayer we prayed “that the course of our world may be directed by your peaceful rule.”
This prayer is the same prayer we use every 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time. It hits home for me with what is going on between the Ukraine and Russia.
Today we are in Ordinary Time. On Wednesday we will celebrate Ash Wednesday and begin our season of Lent. Lent is a time for us to reflect on what is going on in our lives. We examine our consciences.
How have we been defeated by sin?
Thinking about sins may be depressing. We don’t like thinking about defeat. However, with sin, victory will come “through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The victory over sin belongs to Christ. We need to allow God to remove our sins so that we can be dressed in incorruptibility.
It is not easy.
How are we to know what to do? This is an important question for each of us as individuals, as a church, and as a nation. “Can a blind person guide a blind person?”
At times it can be easy to “notice the splinter in your brother’s eyes” but what about “the wooden beam” in your own eye?
What are we to do?
We must heed Jesus’ word to see and “remove the wooden beam” from our own eye.
We need Jesus to take away our sin.
We need the Holy Spirit to guide us with gifts of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, that we might have good counsel, and the courage to live as God teaches us.
It is not easy. We face tribulation. If we hope to succeed, we need to make sure we are “planted in the house of the Lord.” It is only in following the Lord that we find ourselves “vigorous and sturdy.”
Again, we are about to begin Lent. What do you need to change in your life? What sins do you need to be forgiven for and need grace to overcome?
How might you help others see Christ?
Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are three pillars of Lent.
We need to pray to open ourselves to God. We pray that our relationship with God grows each day.
We pray for each other, that we may all know and do what God asks of us.
We pray that our Church always be guided by the Holy Spirit to bring the Light of Christ to the world.
We pray for all government leaders to respond to the needs of the people and find a way to peace in the Ukraine. We pray to for Russia. We pray for everyone involved to surrender it all to Christ.
Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting. Pope Francis has called us to offer our fasting up for the tribulation in the Ukraine. On Fridays of Lent, we abstain from meat. We can offer this sacrifice for the world.
The last pillar of Lent is almsgiving. May we open ourselves to give in accord with our means to help those most in need.
What is your greatest distress? Have you offered it up to God?