- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

Homily for March 17, 2021 – Wednesday the Fourth Week of Lent

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO

March 17, 2021 – Wednesday The 4th Week of Lent

“Sing out, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth, break forth into song, you mountains for the Lord comforts his people” (Is. 49: 13). Lent is the acceptable time, not only to do penance but also to rejoice because God has shown mercy to sinners and compassion to the down-trodden. We can love God because God first loved us (CF. 1Jn. 4:19). More than that, God loved us from the first. This is underscored in the Letter to the Romans. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Saint Paul elaborates upon this point in his second letter to the Corinthians. “God made him who had no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in union with him we might partake of the righteousness of God and be placed in a right relationship with him by his gracious lovingkindness” (2 Cor. 5:21). Because God loved us from the first moment of our existence, Christ became the pledge for all blessings. The Beloved Son stripped himself of glory and took to himself the form of a slave. By becoming obedient to death on the cross Christ reconciled the world to the Father.

Lent is the acceptable time for us to thank God for his infinite mercy whereby he reconciled the whole of creation to himself in Christ. He who did not know sin took our sinful nature to himself so that he could free us from sin and its curse. The Light of the World lifted high on the cross brought us out of the darkness and made us children of the Light. He cries out to all of us, “Show yourselves” (Is. 49:9). Not only are we to look upon him whom we have pierced, but we are to be seen by the Father who loves us. Though there are difficulties in the way to heaven, yet the grace of God will carry us over them and make even the mountains a level path. Lent is the acceptable time for us to ponder God’s infinite mercy and compassion. Lent is the acceptable time to rejoice in the hope and glory of God who, through the sacred wounds of his Son, Our Savior Jesus Christ, has set us as a mark on his hand and as a seal on his arm. Lent is the acceptable time to pay attention to the reality of God’s love that surrounds us.

God surrounds us but often we do not notice. He sings to us but often we do not hear. He touches us but often we do not feel. Lent is the acceptable time for us to slow down and make ourselves present to every moment in order to experience what each of them reveals. Lent is the acceptable time for us to find again our eyes of faith, to see the fire of God’s presence as it fills the world, and know that wherever we stand is holy ground.

The whole strong clamor of a vehement soul
Doth utter itself distinct. Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries,
And daub their natural faces unaware.
(Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh)