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5th Sunday of Lent B

I recently came from a tiring but beautiful trip to Antique province to attend the ordination of a friend as a new deacon. Actually he is part of a batch of 5 new deacons for the diocese’s celebration of its golden jubilee. What a gift from the Lord – 50 years as church and 5 new deacons who will later this year become priests.

What makes this occasion special is that all over the world, there are less and less young men who choose to serve God in total dedication as priests. To see new deacons come forward to express their love for God and their brothers and sisters is indeed an inspiration.

We live in a world that, in the midst of constant flux and rapid mobility see people ever more hungry for an encounter with God. The situation of the Greeks in the gospel today is the situation of so many people. They are approaching disciples and asking: Sir, we want to see Jesus! Good enough for them that Philip and Andrew led them to the Lord.

In this Lenten season, it may be good to ask: who were the people who introduced me to the Lord? The people who taught me to cherish prayer, the Mass, devotions and commitment to God? Like Philip and Andrew, they were apostles too, and we need to recall their influence in our lives.

If others led us to Jesus, isn’t it time for us to pass on to others the same gift? We are now, in turn, called to be apostles. Living the message of Lent, we see how great is the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. But we also find out how very few know it and take it to heart.

It is a time to get involved. We speak of being stewards of the Church and of our faith. God wants us to share our time, talent and treasures, all these gifts coming from his generous hands and must be offered back to him.

How can we be satisfied with just attending services, occasional participation, giving our token offerings, when out there people are saying in their hearts: please help me see Jesus.

We need more catechists for our children and young people. We need more lectors and Eucharistic lay ministers. We need more youth leaders and choir members. Since we are overflowing with talents in the Church, all we truly need now are generous hearts.

What do we get out of being committed to serve the Lord more emphatically? The gospel says: My Father will honor those who serve me. Try to be generous to God and discover how even more gracious he is in bestowing gifts.

In Antique, I saw how glad the deacons were to give their lives to the Lord. In our parishes, do you have room for your hearts for the graces about to be bestowed on you when you decide to serve the Lord even more?