Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over."
If Easter is about anything at all, it is about God's radical desire to be intimate with each of us.
To take on mankind's sinful nature and then to suffer crucifixion at the hands of His creatures is indeed a mind-boggling demonstration of God's desire to remove sin as the barrier to the intimacy He longs to share with us.
Easter Sunday celebrates the greatest feast of the entire year, Christ's resurrection from the dead. But we need to ask ourselves: "Is my experience of Christ's resurrection primarily head knowledge, or is my experience both head and heart knowledge?"
Exploring the readings, beginning with the Gospel, helps us answer the question. In the Gospel of John, Mary of Magdala "came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb."
Holy Week begins the greatest week of the liturgical year. As we enter more deeply into His passion and death, we discover Jesus entering our passion, our struggle with sin, weaknesses and inconsistencies. There's no doubt that Christ suffers much in our lives, gradually conquering our rebellious nature with the same love that led Him through His passion.
The readings for the Fifth Sunday of Lent have many levels of meaning, but ultimately they tell one thing: The glory of God is on the way for all those who choose Jesus as Lord and Savior.
In the first reading, God tells Ezekiel, "O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them, and bring you back to the land of Israel." Here God isn't speaking literally about the resurrection but rather that He will bring them back from captivity, and also bring them alive in the culture of Judaism.
In the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Lent, God's Word pierces mankind's darkness and reveals a light that will always shine for those who walk in it.
In the first reading, God chooses one of Jesse's sons to be king. While Jesse presents seven sons, God doesn't choose any of them. God tells Samuel, "Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart."
The readings for the Third Sunday of Lent are simultaneously simple and overwhelmingly profound. Our eyes see and our hearts hear of physical water, but our spirits hunger and thirst for the Holy Spirit.