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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Looby

Fifth Sunday of Lent

This week as I was driving to Burlington I saw my favorite sign of Spring! I’m not talking about a robin or a crocus popping up from the ground. I’m talking about those beautiful, blue tubes fastened to the maple trees along the road!

Just thinking about that sap flowing through those blue tubes where it will later be collected and boiled down until it becomes maple syrup makes my mouth water!

I just can’t wait to put a little bit of that in the microwave for about 30 seconds and then pour it over a bowl of vanilla ice cream!

Like the grain of wheat in today’s Gospel, maple syrup is a parable as to what it means to love as God loves us. In letting our self-centeredness be boiled away, we can transform our lives in the grace and peace of God.

We all should strive to have the faith of the grain of wheat, that we may die to ourselves in order to realize the fruit of God’s forgiveness and to embrace the faith of the spring maple tree: to be willing to give of ourselves for the sake of others as Christ gave himself up for us, allowing ourselves to be transformed in the life and love of Jesus.

It’s hard to believe but next Sunday is Palm Sunday! This final full week of Lent is a good time for us to evaluate how our Lent is going.

How IS your Lent going?

For those of you who were here on Ash Wednesday you may remember that I like to think of Lenten fasting as fasting and feasting. We FAST from anything that holds us back from being the kind of person God wants us to be and we FEAST: feasting on opportunities to receive the rich grace that only God can give so that we can become the people God wants us to be.

Then I talked about how we can FAST from some bad behavior or trait and FEAST on something more positive or Christ-like. Or in the spirit of spring sugaring season: we boil off the bad so that only the good may remain and Christ may shine through us:

• Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ dwelling in them.

• Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of life.

• Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.

• Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.

• Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.

• Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.

• Fast from anger; feast on patience.

• Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.

• Fast from worry; feast on divine order.

• Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.

• Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.

• Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.

• Fast from hostility; feast on non-resistance.

• Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.

• Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.

• Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal truth.

• Fast from discouragements; feast on hope.

• Fast from facts that depress; feast on verities that uplift.

• Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.

• Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.

• Fast from shadows of sorrow; feast on the sunlight of serenity.

• Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.

• Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that undergirds

The gospel this weekend mentions a group of Greek speaking pilgrims in Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. They also want to meet Jesus.

Today, there are millions of more people who are craving to see Jesus today.

May our fasting and feasting these last few days of Lent transform our lives so that they may encounter Jesus in us!

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