WIS 2: 1A, 12-22
PS 34: 17-18, 19-20, 21 and 23
JN 7: 1-2, 10, 25-30
Lent is our pilgrimage, our journey with Jesus toward Holy Week and the beauty of the Resurrection. In today’s Gospel, we also accompany Jesus on his pilgrimage. Pilgrimages are journeys of the body, the mind, and the soul. We walk in other’s footsteps. We may walk a new path. As a community we learn what it is to walk in faith. We experience both the joys and the challenges of a journey. I, too, experienced all of these elements as I participated in the MAGIS/World Youth Day Pilgrimage in Poland with 20 of our students last July. I want to share with you the reflection for today that I have written for the Polish Jesuit Pray as You Go.
Lord, please help me to enter into prayer with a focus on my fears and worry about control in my life and how to resolve that by reaching out to Jesus. Help me to be firm in my faith as I see Christ in others.
In today’s Gospel from John, we see that Jesus “went up, not openly but as it were in secret.” He knew that the Jews were trying to kill Him and He did not have control over the situation. Jesus was probably afraid, as you often are. Afraid of others, afraid of new situations, afraid of doing the wrong thing. How can Jesus’ fear help you understand your own fears and also help you to give control to God over your life, just as Jesus did? Spend a few moments reflecting on this.
With fear comes doubt and with doubt comes lack of faith. “Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ?” Imagine that the authorities were fearful of Jesus. They could have realized that he was the Christ but their fears and doubts may have led to a lack of faith. Are there ever times when your fears and loss of control lead to doubts in your life and cause you to not live out your faith?
As I walked through Krakow during the week of World Youth Day, I was separated from my group and I got lost. I ended up walking about 12 miles that day. Fear had overtaken me. Doubt about whether I could continue surrounded me. I had lost control and I forgot who was there for me. “You know me and also know where I am from.” As I tried to find my way to the train station, I ran into others who helped me. They were the face of Christ to me on my own pilgrimage and they helped me remember who was in control. As I met five sets of people who helped me find my way, I began to realize that I knew Christ and He was present right there for me. My fears and doubts left me. Reflect on Christ’s presence to you through others.
Pray that you might recognize the face of Christ in the other through each encounter, through each leg of your journey, no matter how large or small. Find a place of peace for your fears and doubts and always reflect on the ways you are loved through others and through Christ’s presence in your life.
Sue Chawszczewski, Ph.D.
Director of Campus Ministry