Saturday 5th Week of Lent
When faced with his approaching death, Jesus had a whole different response than fear.
I learned a long time ago,
and perhaps you have as well,
that nothing good can come out of a decision
when it is made out of fear.
More people were starting to believe in Jesus
because of the signs or miracles, he was performing.
The Pharisees stated,
“If we let him go on like this,
the whole world will believe in him.
Then the Romans will come in
and sweep away our sanctuary
and our nation.”
Little did they know at that time
that the Romans in fact did
destroy Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
When faced with his approaching death,
Jesus had a whole different response than fear.
John tells us that he withdrew
to a town called Ephraim
a region near the desert.
He wasn’t escaping or running away.
Like other times in his life,
Jesus needed time with his Father.
Strength to face any opposition to our faith
is not found in books or CDs
or even retreats.
These can give us good ideas and knowledge
which has its place in defending our faith.
But true strength to endure the spiritual battle
comes from prayer – time spent with Jesus
alone in the sanctuary of our hearts.
Consider the number of times
Jesus entered into prayer:
when he began his public ministry
Jesus went into the desert
for 40 days and 40 nights to pray.
He spent the whole night in prayer
before he called his disciples to follow him.
In today’s gospel, he goes to Ephraim to pray.
And after the Last Supper
he went into the Mount of Olives
before his arrest to pray and be with his Father.
Fear will only keep us frigid in loving and following Jesus.
We panic and have to find our own human solutions
and not seek the Lord’s solution in prayer.
“Fear is useless,” Jesus said. “What is needed is trust.” (Luke 8:50).
When fear creeps in to rule our hearts,
let us follow Jesus and withdraw to Ephraim.