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Fifth Sunday of Lent

March 29, 2020

Fifth Sunday of Lent

March 29, 2020

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Assistant Director for Retreat Ministry

 

Book of the Prophet Ezekiel

Psalm 130

Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans 8:8-11

John 11:1-45

 

Over the years I have had the privilege of working with the parish pre-Cana team as we presented the all day marriage preparation class to engaged couples as they prepare for the Sacrament of Matrimony.  My presentation was entitled “The Theology of Marriage.”

Part of my presentation was to remind the couples that not only do they bring their strengths into their relationship but all of their weaknesses and hurts as well.  Today the term that is used is “baggage.”  As a result they are called to heal each others wounds during their married life.  I remind the couples that when they are married they would consent to promised to be true to each other in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, and to love and honor each other all the days of their lives.  They are to bring the love of Jesus to each other and help each other to grown and to become whom God has called each of them to be – and so are we.

In today’s Gospel we have heard the familiar story of Lazarus, the dear friend of Jesus, who had been dead for four days.  We can imagine how a human body would decay after four days lying in a carved out rock tomb in the heat and humidity of Bethany (which is only about a half-mile from Jerusalem.) 

I believe that this is the crowning miracle of Jesus’ ministry on earth.  If he can restore a body that had been in a tomb which has been decomposing for four days He can certainly mend the brokenness and wounds of our lives.  Past, present and future.

We hear that Jesus arrives in Bethany and tells Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life…Do you believe this?”  He asks us that same questions, “Do you believe this?”  Do you believe I can mend all the brokenness and wounds of your life?  Do you believe that I not only offer you resurrection in the future but also the fullness of life now in the present?  The resurrection of Lazarus is not just a promise about the future of each of us.  It is also an invitation from Jesus to enter in the fullness of His life in the present, right now, and that life will continue in us after death. 

At the tomb Jesus finished praying and said, “Lazarus, come out!”  Our Lord says to each one of us to come out of our tomb, to come out of our bondage.  He is telling us not to live in the darkness but to live in the light.  He tells us not to live in fear but to live in faith.  When Lazarus came out of the tomb, Jesus said, “Untie him and let him go.”  The lesson of this miracle is for us to be unbound and to go free, free from sin.

What then is the significance of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead?  I believe it is more that a miraculous event.  It is a true “sign” of God’s promise to raise up all who have died in Christ to everlasting life.  That is why Jesus asked Martha if she believed in the resurrection from the deadWe recite the Creed and “profess our faith” in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  The Creed culminates in the proclamation that we, “look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.”

Sisters and brother, Jesus is our “Spiritual Director.”  He is with us to guide us, unbind us and to set us free from the perils of sin.  We must accept our Lord’s invitation to walk out of any bondage in the tomb and become unbound and set free.  Why?  Because Jesus is the resurrection and the life, and WE DO BELIEVE IT!

Question of the Day:  Are you willing to come out of the darkness of sin and into the light and look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come?

Prayer: “I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will never die.  (Verse before the Gospel, March 29, 2020)

Prosit

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Assistant Director for Retreat Ministry

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