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Lent Week 5 - Death and Resurrection
Week 5: March 26, 2023
Fifth Sunday of Lent
Ezekiel 37:12-14; Psalms 130:1-8; Romans 8:8-11; John 11: 1-45
Lazarus, brother of Martha and Mary and friend of Jesus, has died from an illness. Jesus was away while Lazarus became gravely ill, so Martha sent word to him, but Jesus did not rush back to Judea. When he got back he found out that Lazarus was already entombed. Martha was beside herself as she cried out to Jesus in obvious pain and anger, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” and yet made a profession of faith as she said “But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Jesus summoned Lazarus from the grave and gave instruction to unbind him-to free him.
The raising of Lazarus is Jesus’ last sign before his impending passion. The many signs of Jesus call people to radical faith. Lazarus was raised from the dead for a brief respite; Jesus was raised forever. The raising of Lazarus prompts every believer to answer the ultimate question, “Do you believe that I am the resurrection and the life?”
Today the elect celebrate the third and last scrutiny. They, with the entire church, celebrate Christ’s victory over the evil that keeps people lifeless, like dry, brittle bones in the grave. In this celebration we pray that the “elect may be liberated from the shackles of sin that they may become like Christ by baptism, dead to sin and alive forever in God’s sight…that they be filled with the hope of the life-giving Spirit and prepare themselves thoroughly for their birth to new life…so the Eucharist which they are soon to receive, may make them one with Christ…”(RCIA,#174) We pray this prayer for the elect and for ourselves.
Today brings us to the threshold of Holy Week. We prepare to enter the tomb of Christ’s death and resurrection. We are enlightened by Christ who is the water for which we thirst, the light to our blindness, and our very life’s breath. Use the song, Beautiful Scandalous Night, for reflection: ArtWay.eu
Take time for in depth reflection using this excerpt from a Van Gogh sermon: There is sorrow in the hour of death - but there too joy unspeakable when it is the hour of death of one who has fought a good fight. There is One who has said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life, if any man believe in me, though he were dead yet shall he live.’ October 29, 1876.
Click on the link for the reflection: ArtWay.eu
In the gospel, Jesus shouts the liberating words of life, “Lazarus, come forth!” How is he shouting that to you today? Is there any part of your life that you want to keep hidden in the tomb?
Reread today’s gospel. Write Jesus’ promise, “I am the resurrection and the life” on a sheet of paper. As you reflect on what Jesus means by this promise, add symbols to your paper that will remind you of his promise of eternal life. Display this reminder of Jesus’ promise in a prominent place in your home and keep it there until Easter. Pray that you will always remain confident in Jesus’ promise of eternal life.
Lent gives us the reflection time so that we can say, as Martha did— “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”