Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent
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Jesus said to the Jews: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” So the Jews said to him, “Now we are sure that you are possessed. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died?…Who do you make yourself out to be?”
From Life to Living. We all have life, but that doesn’t mean we’re all living. To live in sin and fear is not living, it means barely surviving. To transition from surviving to succeeding requires living in Christ Jesus.
“Remain in me as I remain in you” (Jn 15:4). “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” (Jn 8:31).
“You will truly be my disciples” is another way of saying, “You will truly be alive.”
Abram was always alive, but he was not always living. He began to live when he began to believe, and he began to believe when he took a leap of faith and left everything he ever knew for God’s sake and for good. It was from this moment on that Abram became known as Abraham. His life took on a whole new meaning. His change of name reflected a change of heart, mind, will and strength. The old man was dead. A star was born. He went from being an insect (in the eyes of many) to a Patriarch (in the eyes of God); a small town boy to the father of millions (if not billions) of stars. Wow! What a change. Talk about turning someone’s life upside down and right side up!
This is what God did through him, with him and in him.
This is what He can do through us, with us and in us, if only we give him our permission.
Whoever keeps my word will not see death. Sin kills. It kills the mind, heart, body and soul. It decapitates the mind, aggravates the heart and disintegrates the soul. By now, you would think we had figured this out. We haven’t. If saints die young, then sinners die younger.
Although it’s bad enough that most people today are standing on their head, what makes it worse is how oblivious they are to it. When the Church speaks out against premarital sex, people throw their hands up in protest. But when Katy Perry and company glamorize drinking and partying – every Friday night – then young people throw their hats up in the air in agreement. You might say, “Well, what the Pope says matters to over one billion people.” That may be true, but what Lady Gaga and Katy Perry think has just as much of an influence as the Pope. In fact, individually, they have more people following them on twitter than he does. Where is the responsibility? Where is the accountability? No where. Standing on our heads.
This morning I gave a talk out at Christ the King School (CKS). It is, without doubt, one of the finest schools in Dallas, if not the entire United States of America. Their mission is simple: train students to be saints, to succeed, not just survive. This may sound obvious, but it is not, for so many schools today are trying to survive; that is, they are trying hard just to get their students to graduate. Unfortunately, for many fine administrators, graduation rates have become the new metric of success, rather than an indication of the state of our society and families.
What are we to do? I’m not sure, but we shouldn’t be redefining success or faking it or lowering it. That’s for sure.
The Lord told the Pharisees what they needed to hear, and it wasn’t exactly what they wanted to hear.
Lent is all about taking Christ’s word for it, and not just His life. (0)