We are starting a new calendar year and at the same time a new liturgical year. We start with new dreams and new goals, that if taken by Christ Jesus’ hands they will find a safe port.
God always guides our steps, even in the difficult times we are living, but if we let ourselves be guided by the Word of God, there will always be a way out.
During the first Sunday of ordinary time the evangelist John (Jn; 2, 1-11) presents the first miracle done by Jesus at the wedding in Cana when Mary becomes aware of the need at that moment and intercedes; Jesus tells her that his hour has not yet come, but Mary knows her son’s heart and tells them, "Do whatever he tells you."
We constantly lack many important things in our lives which make us doubt, make us lose faith, but as the wedding in Cana, Mary intercedes; and even if it is not the time, even if all seems impossible, Mary insists for us to "do whatever he tells us".
If we really do whatever he tells us and let us be guided by his voice and his word, Jesus begins to realize that miracle, that change that we long for in our lives and in our hearts. But many times our ears and our eyes are closed and blinded by the problems and situations and do not realize that indeed there is a light at the end of the tunnel, indeed there is a way out and we only need to do whatever he tells us.
Many times Jesus talks to us, whether through something or someone but sadly we are not aware that he wants to change us, he wants to realize that miracle; we only need to trust in him and he will do great things in our lives.
During the third and fourth Sunday of ordinary time in the Gospel of Luke, (Lk; 1, 1-4, 4; 14-21) and (Lk; 4,21-30) Jesus refers to the Prophet Isaiah, "The spirit of God is over me"; all were fascinated when they listened to him but they did not understand; Jesus was present but they did not recognize him.
Jesus comes to us in many ways in our lives but like those at the temple we do not recognize him, we do not realize that he has always been at our side. Jesus said: "No one is a prophet in his own town", many were angry and threw him out of town. Many times we throw Jesus out of our lives and our homes because we are filled with resentment, anger, and despair.
That is the reason Jesus walks around us, teaching from the boat as told by the gospel of the fifth Sunday of ordinary time ( Lk,5; 1-11), "The Miraculous Catch of Fish". Jesus invites us to take the boat to the depths, there where it is often desolate, empty like many of our homes, but Jesus invites us anew to believe and trust in him. Peter had been fishing all night without catching anything, but when Jesus told him to lower the nests again, Simon said, (Lk,5-5), "but at your command I will lower the nets".
Over and over we try to solve our situations, we try many times without success and Jesus comes and tells you, "take the boat to the deep water and lower the nets", and we need to trust and go to the deepest part of our hearts, go there to the deepest part of the hearts of our loved ones who are important to us, go there to those who are sinking into the depths and do the biggest catch; and lower the nets to catch all those things we have lost – our deepest values, our homes, our marriages, our children and those dreams we have abandoned because we got tired of trying. There is where Jesus wants you to return and try once more, but now confident that this time you are not going alone but by the hand of the one who can do everything, who knows where to find the fish, where you can find what you need.
Regrettably the temptations of the world take us away from our goals and dreams: we let us be dominated because we are not prepared and think we are self sufficient.
Entering the Lenten time, a time for meditation, conversion, and penance, that special time as told us by the gospel of the first Sunday of Lent, (LK,4, 1-13), Jesus was led by the Spirit to be "tempted", but in reality Jesus was led to the desert to be "prepared". But, prepared for what? To be prepared to face the things he was going to find in the world where he was going to fulfill the will of the Father. He was God incarnate, took the form of man, and he had to be prepared to overcome temptations, to stay away from sin, focused on his mission.
During this time of Lent God wants you to prepare yourself, because He more than anybody else knows what you need to get ahead, to achieve your goals, but you have to meditate. A building cannot be built without blueprints. You have to meditate about where you are going in life and God gives you the perfect blueprint, his Word. The Word of God is life and is real. Jesus overcame the enemy with the Word of God (Lk; 4,12). The World also says, "You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test". Jesus knew the Word, he could not be mislead because he truly knew it; the enemy conveniently attacked with the Word but he was silenced with the same Word, because the Word of God does not lie and it is the best weapon for the Christian.
I invite you to learn more about the Word of God, to read it carefully and to meditate in the deepest part of your heart. That Word carries the instructions to be happy, to achieve your goals and is the blueprint to guide your steps.
I pray that during this Lent, the Word of God reaches the deepest part of your heart and prepare you for a true conversion; that Jesus becomes the center of your life, your home, and your heart and that you can go there to the deepest water and become a fisher of men in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Julio Roche leads the young-adult ministry at Holy Apostles Church.