Sunday 5th week of Lent

 

Gospel: Jn 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33b-45

 

“I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

 

Before you answer too quickly think about Martha. She answered “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world” but when Jesus told them to remove the stone she exclaimed  “Lord, by now there will be a stench;

he has been dead for four days” leading to a short rebuke from Jesus: “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?”

 

It was not that Martha had no faith but, you see, until then death was a finality but on this Fifth Sunday of Lent Resurrection hope is the central theme of the Scripture readings.

 

Looking at the themes from the last three weeks we can recognize a progression from our thirst for living water through the Samaritan woman at the well,(3rd Sunday of Lent), the healing of our spiritual blindness through the man born blind (4th Sunday), to our hope for sharing in eternal life with the risen Lord through the restoration of Lazarus (5th Sunday).

 

We live in a world that permeated in a culture of death: murder, abortion, euthanasia, domestic violence, disease, war and terrorist activities. We've experienced a rise in suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, smoking, stress, bad eating habits, and other forms of physical neglect. Coronavirus has made us fearful but on this 5th Sunday Jesus reveals the ultimate truth: "I am the resurrection and the life". Death does not and will not have the final answer. Today gospel is a message of hope. 

 

In our sinfulness we often bind ourselves with chains of addiction to alcohol, drugs, and pornography, with gossip, envy, prejudice, hatred and anger and it seems that we are always in the darkness of tombs of despair. We are wrapped in bindings of selfishness, worry, fear, resentment, hatred, and guilt. Today, friends, Jesus says "Roll away the stone, unbind him and let him go.” Today Jesus calls our name, “Come out, Mary”, “Come out, Michel”!

 

Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus and weeps for the spirtually dead today. He wants to bring the light and the power of the Holy Spirit into our lives and and to liberate us from our tombs and bindings. Let this moment be the beginning of a new life. Like Lazarus we are called out of darkness into the light, we are not meant to be lost in a culture of death but to be witnesses of resurrection power.

 

“I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

 

In the name of the Father + and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

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