Fr Thomas’ Reflection for the 5th Sunday of Lent

Fall on the Ground and Die for the Life of Glory

Lin Htet left his home in Mandalay early morning, 11 March, to join the Mya Taung protest group.  He died when the regime forces attacked his protest column near Koe Lone Tagar pagoda on 90th street.  The military who took his body, told his family and others that they did not have the body.  “I just want to see my son’s face.  I just want to give him a burial,” his father, Zaw Lin said.  But what he said after that is more remarkable; “I don’t feel sad for my son. I’ll be proud of him forever,” he added.  The strong conviction of this father and his son is that any inaction in the face of the brutal coup of the military will not help them in their pursuit of dignity and prosperity.  Sacrifices are required to regain the dignity of life and democracy from the evil of the military junta.  “Unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest.” (John 12:24).

A repressed political situation may require such self-sacrifices for its liberation.  In a world gripped by sins, self-sacrifice is all the more important.  Yet no man could adequately offer a sacrifice that would liberate the world from its sinfulness.  Therefore, Jesus, the Son of God, sacrificed himself on the cross for the salvation of the world.  It became the ultimate expression of the love of the Father for us.  On the cross we see Jesus who was totally obedient to his Father for our sake.

Just as the convictions of the political martyrs are written in their heart rather than in any manifesto or legislations, so the spiritual intent for self-sacrifice also originates from the heart of a Christian.  Only love of God and his Kingdom can help you to bend your heart towards the cross of Jesus. Jesus said, “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour”. (John 12:24).  Yes, if we love Jesus, we will follow him to his cross so that we will be with him in glory as well.

In Jesus we have a new beginning, similar to the new beginning Jeremiah spoke of after the Israelites were freed from the Babylonian exile five centuries before.  About the new Covenant of God which will re-establish the people of God who lost their Temple and their religion, Jeremiah prophesied God’s words “I will write it on their hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33).  Yes, you and I have a new religion, a new beginning, based on the love of God and the Cross of Salvation written on the hearts.  If these are not in our hearts, but remain only in our prayer books, the glory of resurrection promised also will elude us. “Unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest”.  The glory and dignity of your life, which is to be continued beyond your grave depends on your preparedness to ‘fall on the ground and die’ as Jesus did.  Take this to your heart.