Theme: DO YOU BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE?
- 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. We use Liturgical Year A, because there will be catechumens for baptism on Easter Vigil Night!
The gospel today tells us that Jesus is the resurrection and the life and that whoever believes in him even though he dies he will live and that whoever lives and believes in him will never die!
That is, Jesus is the resurrection and the life, whoever believes in him even though he dies in his sins he will live and whoever lives and believes in him will never die in his sins, that is, he will never sin and die!
The question is:
“Do you believe this?” (Jn 11:26; SM)
This is the question that the gospel asks us today! This is the question that Jesus asked Martha! And Martha answered:
“Yes Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world.” (Jn 11:27; SM)
And because of Martha’s faith and belief, Jesus raised her brother Lazarus from the dead:
“Lazarus, here! Come out!” (Jn 11:43; SM)
And the dead Lazarus came out! Lazarus was dead for four days!
On Easter Vigil Night we will also be questioned about our faith and belief! We will be asked 6 questions, 3 rejecting Satan and 3 professing our faith in God! We reject Satan and all his works and all his empty promises, because Satan tempts us not to believe in God as he tempted Adam and Jesus not to believe in God! (1st Sunday of Lent, Year A)
More importantly, we will be asked the 3 questions of faith and belief:
(i) “Do you believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth?”
(ii) “Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?”
(iii) “Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?” (SM)
And when we answer “I do” 6 times, we will be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and we will die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter! For those of us who are already baptized we will be sprinkled with the waters of baptism and we will die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter!
The first reading tells us that the Lord will raise us from the dead through the power of the Holy Spirit!
The raising of Lazarus was only resuscitation. It was only a sign of the resurrection. It was not the resurrection! Lazarus had to die again. But to raise us from the dead Jesus himself had to die and rise from the dead and give us the Holy Spirit! Thus we read in the caption of the first reading:
“I shall put my spirit in you, and you will live.” (Ezk 37:14; SM)
The first reading was originally addressed to the exiled Jews in Babylon.
The second reading also tells us that it is through the power of the Holy Spirit that the Lord will raise us from the dead!
The second reading was addressed to the baptized, but today it is addressed to the baptized and especially to the catechumens to be baptized this coming Easter Vigil Night! 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)
The responsorial psalm is a penitential psalm. It is a “prayer for pardon and mercy”. (CSB) The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas are a prayer for forgiveness. The third and fourth stanzas are an expression of trust. (Faley) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm which is taken from the fourth stanza:
“With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.” (Ps 129 (130): 7; SM)
During this time of Lent the Church asks us to pray, to fast and to give alms to the poor; not as a law or punishment, but to help us repent so that we may be baptized or renew our baptism on Easter Vigil Night and die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter! A Happy and Blessed Lent to all of you! Amen!