De La Salle junior, Ty Ward. Based on a discussion about whether or not the Greeks should be allowed to hear the Gospel, St. Peter says to the Apostles
He [God] made no distinction between us and them, for by faith he purified their hearts”. All around the world, people have been divided because of their skin color, gender, or personal beliefs. We must see that we are all children of God and that He loves all of us equally. We must be able to see Jesus in everyone we meet, and not discriminate simply because someone is different than us. We must celebrate those differences because God made each of us different for a reason. The best way to spread the word of God is by working with those in our community to make the world a better place. We must come together and stand united as one body to end conflicts around the world.
De La Salle sophomore, Matthew Ortega Cerna.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus says: “Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27-31a) Being afraid is natural, and it happens to all of us whether we like to admit it or not. It can be something as simple as meeting someone new, or fear of something bigger like tight spaces. Whatever your fear might be, it is important to know that eventually, our fear will pass. The only person who lived without fear was Jesus because he trusted in God the Father. Let’s be like Jesus and trust in the Lord so our fear can disappear.
De La Salle junior, Trent Miller. Based on a reading from the Gospel according to John
In Today’s Gospel, Jesus says to his Apostles, "Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.” (John 14:21-26) Loving and trusting in those around you is a way to assure yourself that you are getting closer to God. When you are truly able to trust those around you that trust in you, then is when you may feel relief from any secrecy you may be experiencing. As school comes to an end in these last few weeks, hopefully, you will find someone you can trust or you may have already found this person in our Spartan brotherhood.
The season of Lent calls us to reflect on our own faith life. Are we insecure, unwilling to experience anything that calls us to new territory? Or are we prepared to admit our ongoing need to grow and to welcome when life comes to us as a surprise or challenge? There can be no faith where faith is never tested. Turning away from sinfulness is a matter of accepting the wisdom of trust, unclenching our fists, and opening our hands to receive the nourishing grace of God.
One of my favorite lines from John’s Gospel is: Jesus said to those…who believed in him, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
It is important that we never allow what we know to stand in the way of what we still need to learn. During Lent, we are called to face how ignorance has caused us to lose touch with ourselves. By opening ourselves to God’s healing, we can find the faith and the humility to walk away from sinfulness and back to authenticity, able again to grow in our understanding that to be free is to live the truth.
In the Gospel Jesus assures us: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." (Matthew 7:7-8) I invite you to be courageous in your asking, seeking, and knocking. By taking a step back, taking a good look at your life, and spending more time in prayer, in fasting, and in giving, may you become more and more clear as to what you are asking and seeking from God. Only then may you know what doors to knock upon and be ready for what lies on the other side of that door when it is opened!
There is a story from the writings of the Desert Fathers in which a group of monks come to their elder with a question: “Tell us, when we see brothers dozing during the sacred office, should we pinch them so they will stay awake?” The old man said to them, “Actually, if I saw a brother sleeping, I would put his head on my knees and let him rest.”
Many of us struggle with the challenge of living nonjudgmentally. Like the monks in the Desert Father’s story, we search for ways to justify reorganizing the world to our own liking. And, like Peter in Matthew’s Gospel, we search for ways to appoint ourselves arbiters of God’s justice. However, Jesus calls us to a spirit of humility, in which we see others’ transgressions as reminders of our own imperfections and of our shared need to bring ourselves closer to one another and to God. That is the beauty of forgiveness. It works to heal not only the forgiven but also the forgiver, allowing both to move forward by freeing us from the impulse to hold our hurts and mistakes so tightly that they come to define us.
Author Paul Boese has suggested, “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” Forgiveness builds community, and community reveals God’s kingdom. Lent is a good time to renew in ourselves the commitment to both seek and accept reconciliation so that our light can always overcome our darkness. When it comes to our need for redemption and another chance to be at our best, God’s final word is never no, nor can ours be either.