Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent
The readings for the day can be found here.
In today’s Gospel, we encounter people with mixed motives. Among those witnessing the resurrection of Lazarus and who began believing in Jesus, some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Consequently, the religious leaders convened to plot against Jesus as they concluded that they were up against a powerful wonder-worker who might stir up the people and raise the Romans’ suspicions and reprisal.
Was these people’s fledgling faith assailed by fear and dread? Did they first believe but then later second-guessed themselves? Did they doubt the authority of their experience hence choosing the safer route of betrayal? Did they surrender responsibility and personal power to avoid the risky implications of their faith? We do not know about their inner process. However, Lent invites us to pay attention to ours.
St. Ignatius of Loyola writes in his rules for discernment, “We ought to note well the course of the thoughts, and in the beginning, middle and end is all good, inclined to all good, it is a sign of the good Angel” (Spiritual Exercises 333). In other words, we ought to be consistent in our vision, our mission, and our outcomes. If our motives and goals, as well as our steps to reach them, are not aligned with what we believe, we are not in accordance with the spirit of God. We want a good match between what we say we are about in our most profound and sacred convictions, and the way in which we treat each other and go about doing things. There has to be consistency, congruence and integrity in our lives.
In Holy Week, we relive the consequences of tainted motives, confused hearts and corrupted loyalties. Perhaps as we enter into Holy Week this year, we might want to renew a habit of reflecting on the alignment of faith and practice into our living. It is not easy when we are pulled in different directions by the concrete demands of daily life, work, study, families, economics, health, and so on. Jesus showed us what it is like to truly be of a single mind and a single heart to the very end. He revealed a faithful God who does no second guessing about believing in humanity and creation. We are his fledgling but true followers.