Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

Beautiful Snippets from the Fifth Sunday of Lent

From the first reading, Is 43:16-21:

Thus says the LORD,
who opens a way in the sea
and a path in the mighty waters,
who leads out chariots and horsemen,
a powerful army,
till they lie prostrate together, never to rise,
snuffed out and quenched like a wick.
Remember not the events of the past,
the things of long ago consider not;
see, I am doing something new!
After starting with a reminder of God's powerful, demonstrated by mighty deeds in real history, the prophet tells Israel, and us, that God is going to set us on a new path, in which former sins are transcended.  The joy that His plans for us will bring is described in Ps 126:
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
Our bondage to sin and its ugly consequences will be broken.  St. Paul tells us how much this new life should be worth to us in the Epistle, taken from Phil 3:8-14:
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...
depending 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 from the dead.
St. Paul continues to encourage us with his own efforts:
...forgetting what lies behind
but straining forward to what lies ahead,
I continue my pursuit toward the goal,
the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.
He would like us to share in them, no doubt.  Not only that, he wants us to join him in forgetting our spotty pasts except in as much as they humble us and become fertile soil for wisdom.  But guilt and shame from our past must fall away.  And lastly, Jesus' beautiful, beautiful words to the woman caught in adultery, whom he saved from stoning (Jn 8:1-11):
Then Jesus straightened up and said to her,
“Woman, where are they?
Has no one condemned you?”
She replied, “No one, sir.”
Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you.
Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”
Let's use these last two weeks of Lent to our great advantage.  Let's enter into it with our whole hearts, praying fervently for the grace to rise higher in Christ, leaving behind sin and the scars it leaves, to be transfigured with Our Blessed Lord.

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