Theme: LENT IS A TIME WHEN WE PREPARE TO DIE AND RISE WITH JESUS CHRIST TO THE NEW LIFE OF EASTER IN THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM
- Ezekiel 37:12-14;
- Psalm 129. R/ v. 7;
- Romans 8:8-11
- John 11:1-45 (Shorter Form, John 11:3-7. 17. 20-27. 33-45)
Today is the 5th Sunday of Lent; Liturgical Year A. Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate Easter. Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and our death and resurrection with him in the sacrament of baptism!
Lent is therefore a time when our catechumens prepare for their baptism and when we who are baptised prepare for the renewal of our baptism on Easter Vigil Night!
Lent is therefore a time of repentance! Lent is therefore a time when we prepare to die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter in the sacrament of baptism!
The gospel today tells us that Jesus is the resurrection and the life and that anyone who believes in him even though he dies he will live! And that whoever lives and believes in him will never die!
More importantly, the gospel tells us that Martha believed in Jesus! Martha believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into the world!
Most importantly, the gospel tells us that because Martha believed in Jesus, Jesus raised his brother Lazarus from the dead! Thus we read in the gospel:
“Jesus said: ‘I am the resurrection and the life. If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’
‘Yes Lord,’ Martha said ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world.’ ….
Jesus cried in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, here! Come out!’ The dead man came out, his feet and hands bound with bands of stuff and a cloth round his face. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, let him go free.’” (Jn 11:25-27. 43-44; SM)
The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the Lord will open our graves and raise us from our graves and the Lord will put his spirit in us and we will live! Thus we read in the first reading:
“And you will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and raise you from your graves, my people. And I shall put my spirit in you, and you will live. ….” (Ezk 37: 13-14a; SM)
The second reading tells us that if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in us, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to our mortal bodies through his Spirit living in us! Thus we read in the second reading:
“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your own mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you.” (Rm 8:11; SM)
In front of this Good News we can only respond with the psalmist in today’s responsorial psalm. Thus the response:
“With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.” (Ps 129:7; SM)
Indeed, the Lord is love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation!
During this time of Lent, the Church asks us to pray, to fast, and to give alms to the poor; not as a punishment for our sins, but to help us to repent! To help us die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter in the sacrament of Baptism! A blessed Lent to all of you! Amen!
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.