Bishop Banda’s Homily, Sunday, 5th Week of Lent

As we come closer to the Passion Week, the church invites us to reflect on the Cross as well as loss and gain. In our Gospel reading we see some Greek scholars escorted by Andrew and Philip come to see Jesus. Our Lord addresses them that: only by death comes life. Only by spending life we retain it. Only by service comes greatness.

To this effect Jesus narrates the story about a seed. Dying of a seed and the bearing of fruit forecasts His death on the Cross and His resurrection after three days. Although the seeds are useful to us, we have to let them die and decay under the fertile soil in order to bring up plentiful harvest. We can preserve the grains, but they will not multiply.

Denying to self seems certainly one of the most difficult things in our life. Our life today is characterized with self love, self satisfaction and self glorification. The “I”, “Me” and “Myself”. We all desire for more and better things, we desire to keep the status quo and comfort. But the reality is that true wealth is LOVE. Love given, love shared. It meansthat, whatever efforts we take for our own safety, security and welfare, we should take the same measure for others.

However, Jesus goes a step further and offers more efforts for others than for Himself – by dying on the cross and praying for those who were persecuting Him. In so doing He radiated to the world a new meaning of life that by death comes life. But Jesus is not inviting us to go for Lent without Easter. Jesus says, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” Thus after Good Friday, comes Easter Sunday.

Therefore, the season of Lent offers us an opportunity to reflect on our life and to resolve to live our life in the loving service of others in the footsteps of our Lord. Let greatness come to us through our service of others. Let us turn our hardships into stepping stones to walk on with the Lord.

May the denying of ourselves not only be restricted to certain dishes, but also be creative to forgive and forget so that our friendship circles may widen and our healthy friendships be maintained. Make our anger be expensive that no one can afford it. Our happiness be as cheap as possible that anyone acquire it almost for free. Let it be contagious. Spend to make others happy.

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