The question posed by Nicodemus is one which we all ask in one way or another. How are we to know that the Spirit is really working in the world if we cannot see it and understand it? How are we to be born again in the Spirit if we don’t know anything about the Spirit?
In our Christian lives, and especially in these difficult times, we have to rely on the Cross of Jesus Christ. We have to make a leap of faith and trust in God’s promise and The Cross provides something for us to hang on to in the midst of our doubts and our tribulations. The Cross is hope. It is also encouragement. Each of us is asked by God to do some service, some act for God and for our neighbors. But often we fail to make the leap and we ask again and again: Who, me? Do you mean me, God?
Christ redeemed us by loving us with a reckless and suffering extravagance which is beyond our human understanding. We are redeemed through and by God’s persistent and abiding presence in our own suffering.
Fr. Kevin Stephens, O.P., asks us to look at the question of fear. In both the first reading and in the Gospel passage, a woman fears for her life. We too, in our own lives, suffer from fears, both ordinary and extraordinary. But Psalm 23, our responsorial psalm, reminds us of an essential truth: God always walks beside us. Though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, God remains by our side. When we turn to him in prayer it is not so much that we are asking for some supernatural miracle or for God to somehow ‘change his mind’ but we are turning to him and asking for the reassurance that is his Presence.
Fr. Scott O’Brien, O.P., prepares us for the difficulties and mixed emotions that await the people of God in the coming months; he compares the waiting difficulty to another winter, as the natural world prepares for spring. In the midst of this, he encourages us to take heart in Jesus – the temple from which the waters of life flow. Hoping in Jesus, our we have a cause for hope in even the greatest darkness, in the coldest winter.
Fr. Kevin Stephens, OP calls our attention to the fear and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 as a reality which brings us to greater solidarity with the fear and anxiety of the past. He helps us to identify with the man who begs Jesus to heal his son, and to save his son from death. That man believed that Jesus could save his son, and Jesus rewarded his faith with the healing he asked for.
Deacon Joseph Paul Albin, O.P. preached for the 4th Sunday in Lent, Laetare Sunday. In his homily, Br. Joseph Paul acknowledges the difficult times that are before us. It is easy to feel like the blind man at the beginning of the story, but he also reminds that there is a journey from darkness to light, from blindness to the full flowering of the faith.
Brother Carlos begins by asking us what we do in the midst of unprecedented uncertainty. He reminds us that God sees differently, more clearly than human beings. In this time of great uncertainty, he asks us to be humble before God, and to trust in Him.
We see both in the Scriptures today and in the Summa Theologiae of Thomas Aquinas that the Law we Christians are under is that of the Spirit and of Charity.