BELIEVE - A Lenten Study with Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr.

"Lent is my favorite season of the Christian year because it invites us to pay attention again to the centrality of the gospels and our faith, the Lord’s passion and resurrection. Lent also invites us to pay attention to all that is happening in and around us through self-examination, penitence, prayer, fasting, worship and meditating on the Word of God. This Lent, I invite you to join me as, together, we work through what it means to “BELIEVE” as understood by John the evangelist through his gospel. I pray that you may join me on this BELIEVE Lenten spiritual pilgrimage and that it blesses, strengthens and grows your faith and vocation as a Christ follower. Let us all observe a Holy Lent."


Please click on the player below to view the most recent Lenten reflection from Bishop Saenz and/or click the title to go to the CTC Vimeo page and download. Previous BELIEVE devotionals are posted below.

Fifth Sunday in Lent - There is Life in Christ After Trauma

On this fifth Sunday of Lent, Bishop Saenz takes a unique slant on the story and tradition of Lazarus, the one whom Jesus raised from the dead, focusing on the hours and then decades after being called out of the tomb by Jesus.The resurrection of Lazarus terribly disrupted and traumatized his life.

  • He became a hunted and wanted man. There were rumors about plots to kill him because people believed in Jesus on account of him.
  • According to Scripture and the tradition of the Cypriot church, Lazarus and his two sisters fled from Bethany and settled in Cyprus to escape the anger of those plotting to kill him.
  • Eastern Orthodox tradition claims the Apostles Paul and Barnabas ordained Lazarus as the first Bishop of Cyprus, where he served until he died 30 years after Jesus resurrected him from the grave.
  • Despite his position as bishop, it was said that Lazarus never smiled or joked. After many years of questioning, he revealed the misery of Hades while there for four days before being resurrected by Jesus. He explained that no one could recover from the shock of what they saw and experienced.

Lazarus was traumatized and shocked by a personal experience of death. Because of his traumatic death experience, Bishop Saenz explains that Lazarus could minister to people and teach faith in Christ like few people could, further demonstrating that there is life after trauma through the power and experience of Jesus through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

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Previous BELIEVE Reflections

Ash Wednesday Reflection from John 1:35-39
Originally posted Feb. 22
Bishop Saenz invites all to join him on a Lenten journey to work through what it means to “BELIEVE” as understood by John the evangelist through his gospel and begins the Lenten journey with a reflection on John 1:35-39. 
A Reflection for the First Sunday of Lent from John 2:1-11 "The Wedding at Cana"
Originally posted Feb. 26
On this first Sunday of Lent, Bishop Saenz continues our BELIEVE Lenten journey by meditating on how belief is born in Jesus' disciples at the wedding of Cana. This passage from John 2:1-11 also offers us a unique glimpse into the collectivist societal norms of Jesus' day.
A Reflection for the Second Sunday of Lent from John 3:1-18 "Nicodemus and Jesus: A Model of Transitioning Discipleship"
Originally posted March 5
Bishop Saenz reflects on how belief is born in the Pharisee Nicodemus through what he hears during his encounter with Jesus.
A Reflection for the Third Sunday in Lent from John 4:39-42 "The Savior of the World"

Originally posted March 12

On the third Sunday in Lent, Bishop Saenz focueses on how belief is born in a Samaritan woman through what she hears during her encounter with him and how her willingness to share what she heard led many from her community to belief in Jesus as the Messiah - the Savior of the World.

A Reflection for the Fourth Sunday in Lent from John 9:34-38 "Who Is Jesus to You?"

Originally posted March 19

The fourth Sunday in Lent reflection finds Bishop Saenz focusing on John 9:34-38 and the gospel writers account of Jesus healing a blind man with mud from the ground. You are alos invited to actively seek out and react to human suffering in your community and during your prayer time, ask yourself just who is Jesus to you.