Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Dr. Marie Philomène Péan
We’ve been journeying together through Lent. Many prophets
and Jesus’ contemporaries helped us to deepen our
relationship with God. Many signs accompanied us on the
road like: Jesus’ temptation and transfiguration, the
Samaritan woman, the Blind man and the resurrection of
Lazarus. Holy week is next week! What have you done in
God’s mission, the Church and for your neighbors?
The first reading (Jer. 20: 10-13) reminds us of a prophet’s
plea: someone who denounced the evil and announced God’s
new way of life. We have had many prophets. But do we
have a prophet for the situation in Haiti, Ukraine and several
other situations throughout the world and within our own
country? The Church in Haiti used to denounce all types of
governments for their wrongdoings. After the dictatorship of
the Duvalier’s, the freedom of expression was flourishing. But
right after the assassination of president Jovenel Moise in
2021, the neurosurgeon who’s currently commanding Haiti is
metaphorically cutting people’s jaws from talking. The
Church is quiet. If you denounce or are active in some
political organization, you are at risk of being kidnapped,
raped or killed.
Haitians are concretely praying today’s psalm in their lives:
‘‘The Breakers of death surged round about me. In my
distress, I called upon the Lord: my God, refuge, rock, shield,
fortress and my deliverer (Ps 18 2-3a, 3bc-4, 5-6, 7).’’ Most
of Haitians continue to flee the danger. Those who are
already in the diaspora are passively living their lives.
However, Haitians must realize that God wants them, like the
Ukrainians, to take ownership of their destiny.
In today’s gospel Jesus declares himself: ‘‘I am the son of
God’’ (Jn 10: 31-42). Jesus’ generation could not understand
the relationship between Jesus and his father. I think that
our generation would have the same difficulty. Lent is a time
to deepen our intimacy with God. Like Martin Luther King
along with other freedom seekers crossing the ‘Selma Bridge’, are we willing to bear that witness?
Our world today seems to ignore the sense of the sacred.
Like Peter in the scripture, one’s need to be very intimate with God and the Holy Spirit to proclaim that Jesus is God’s
favorite. Jesus in turn, calls us to discipleship as he did for
Ignatius. Lent is not over! We still have one more week before Easter.
How do we respond?
God gives us the grace to experience the resurrection in our daily lives. Today’s scripture has
several lines for hope in the resurrection. Jeremiah
proclaimed: “Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord.” The Psalmist
pointed out: “From his temple, God heard my voice and my
cry to him reached his ears.” Many in the Jordan area
believed in Jesus, despites he was rejected in Jerusalem.
I don’t think Haitians are ready to enter the dance of the
resurrection, nor the Ukrainians or anyone of us going
through a particular suffering. We cannot do it by ourselves,
but the Church as a community is ready to journey with us.
Questions to ponder.
1-What is one thing that I can do to prepare myself for
2-How do I respond to the war in Ukraine, conflicts in Haiti or
our own country’s instability?
3-Are you grateful for God’s grace in your life?
Hymn for prayer: https://youtu.be/fRpDeqmkYz8
Lyrics: “Take, O take me as I am. Summon out what I shall be.
Set a seal upon my heart, and live in me.” (John Bell