(Fifth Sunday of Lent)
Sunday, April 2, 2017.
God shares with us his power over death: “Whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25-26). It is a power of which men are the beneficiaries: “If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you” (Romans 8:11).
Now, we ask:
1. Who are those who do not have the Spirit of God?
Those who do not have the Spirit of God live “in the flesh” (Romans 8:8). That is, they live a life in opposition to the life of God. They live in contradiction to the order established by God. The order of God is based on and realized in the unity and harmony among all men.
“The concern of the flesh is death” (Romans 8:6), is a disorderly and selfish existence. It is the kind of existence that not only destroys the body, but also annihilates the efforts of the Spirit to dwell in the body. “Those who are in the flesh” are the ones who promote division and destruction among men.
2. Who are those who have the Spirit of God?
Those who have the Spirit of God live “in the Spirit” (Romans 8:9); “the Spirit of God dwells” in them (Romans 8:11). They live a life “pleasing to God,” for “the concern of the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).
It follows that our mortal body has true life only by virtue of the Spirit dwelling in it; and the absence of the Spirit leaves us with an empty body, a body without life.
The world rejects the Spirit of God
The mutual destruction among men renders our world empty of the Spirit of God, a world living “in the flesh,” and the “concern of the flesh is death.”
Because the world is in opposition to the Spirit of God, it is an “empty world,” which can only resort, as in fact it does, to an adoration of what is temporal, i.e. material wealth and earthly power. As a result, our world begets and belittles the oppressed, the poor, the suffering, the ill, and the disenfranchised (who are precisely the product of the injustices and selfishness of the world).
In a world where the body is everything, the death of the body is the end of everything. Thus, those who live in the flesh are left with emptiness. The world of the flesh has buried peace in the tomb of war, justice in the tomb of injustice, equality in the tomb of inequality, and unity in the tomb of division.
We must instill the Spirit of God in our world by bringing about “life and peace” (Romans 8:6). Once the Spirit of God is instilled in each individual and manifested in the life of the entire human collectivity, we will bring true life and peace to our world, we will bring our world out of its tomb and back into life.
Just as God commands, “Lazarus, come out!” (John 11:43), so we must command:
– “Peace, come out!” And peace will come out of the tomb of war.
– “Justice, come out!” And justice will come out of the tomb of injustice.
– “Equality, come out!” And equality will come out of the tomb of inequality.
– “Unity, come out!” And unity will come out of the tomb of division.
Once we allow the Spirit of God to live in us, we will be able to say: “World come out!” And the world will come out of its tomb of death.
(By Jesús A. Diez Canseco)