Year A: Fifth Sunday of Lent
Second Reading: Romans 8:8-11
St Paul takes up the theme of the life-giving Spirit spoken of in the First Reading - reminding his readers that God raised Jesus and will raise them too.
He emphasises, though, the importance of our own interest in spiritual things. God can do great things - but much depends on our own openness and willingness to co-operate with what He is doing.
If our lives are overwhelmingly concerned with unspiritual things, then it becomes much harder to tune into what God might be asking us to do - or be. This is the challenge laid before Christians - to keep God at the centre of our lives.
It is a challenge that has faced every generation. For some, Christianity was simply a way of life. Everyone understood the rhythm of prayer - fasting and feasting - and so, God was part of everyday life. We do not have that luxury. In a way, our lives as Christians may resemble those of the early Christians more than many of the generations between.
The Christians in Rome lived in a city filled with statues and idols. The emperor was a god - one emperor even declared his horse to be a god.
People rarely make such claims these days - but we can look around and see what people worship - even if they don’t call the object of their worship “god”.
For us, the challenge is to keep our worship for God - and keep our focus on spiritual things. This does not mean spending our lives on our knees! It is harder - and easier than that.
It means to remind ourselves daily of our destiny - that the Spirit of God has made His home in us - and so we are confident in our own resurrection after death. Our destination is heaven.
A daily reminder of this - and the same thought punctuating the day - keeps us aware that, whatever, happens here, our destiny is much greater.
We can look at the attractions of the world and enjoy them - but we do not turn them into gods. We can meet ridicule and hostility - but know that, with God, they will not get in the way of where we are going...
The Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead - is now alive and well in us....
What does it mean for me?
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