Fifth Sunday of Lent, March 29
The Resurrection of Lazarus Is A Sign of God’s Power and the Promise to Raise All Who Have Died in Christ to Everlasting Life.
“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.” – words which speak to us of the hope we carry within our hearts and souls, words which speak of the Omnipresence and Omnipotence of God – that Jesus is ever present in our lives, and that death has been forever defeated through the wonder of God’s Infinite Power and Love!
And just as He asked Martha, He also asks each one of us, “Do you believe this?”
Today, on this Fifth Sunday of Lent, the Scriptures speak to us of life, the Presence of God, and His Divine Mercy. They speak to us about the Goodness which is God’s, and the fulfillment of the promises which God has made to us.
“I will put my spirit in you that you may live…thus you shall know that I am the LORD. I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.” Through the prophet Ezekiel, God is reminding His children that He is the Lord of life, and that His word is Truth.
From the very moment that our first parents fell from grace and harmed their relationship with God, death and suffering entered into the world. Yet, in spite of their transgression, Eternal Love and Goodness promised that a day would come when He would mend the torn relationship which existed between man and Himself. And His promise was set in motion through the Incarnation and Birth of His Divine Son.
And after His Death, Resurrection and Ascension to His Father in Heaven, Christ gave us His Spirit – a Spirit who enlightens our conscience with a deeper awareness of right and wrong, a Spirit who sanctifies our life of faith and our growth in holiness, a Spirit who strengthens us in the many crosses we bear in life, so that we may be more conformed to the Image of the Divine and Eternal Son.
For, as Paul tells us in his Letter to the Romans, “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.”
When we focus our lives on Christ and upon His words of Truth, then “Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is alive because of righteousness.” For it is when we accept Christ and His Truth into our life that we become a new person, no longer a slave to sin and death, but a co-heir with Christ in the gift of eternal life.
As a Christian people, our faith teaches us that physical death is not the end. Rather, in death, we find life – an eternity of wondrous experiences yet to be realized! It is only when we cross the threshold from this life to the next that we begin to realize the fulfillment of all of God’s promises to those who have embraced and lived His words of Truth.
I always find comfort in Jesus’ words to Martha after Lazarus died. “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.”
The soul never dies, for it is made in God’s image, sharing in His Eternal Nature. He has breathed His life into it; and for those of us who have embraced His will on this side of eternity, we will never be separated from Him.
We become one with the communion of saints in Heaven. We stand with the angels praising and giving glory to God for His Eternal Goodness! And we join our loved ones who have departed this life in God’s friendship, marked with the sign of faith, as beneficiaries of His infinite Love and limitless Mercy.
Today’s Gospel tells us that “Jesus wept”, showing us the human side of our Lord, sharing in the grief of Martha and Mary at the death of their brother. In His humanity and the sorrow that he shared with others, we are taught that, to be a Christian people, we are each called into relationship not only with God but also with each other.
And we are to live that relationship in the way that is most pleasing to God – a relationship of selfless love, truly caring for one another with words and deeds of friendship and compassionate understanding – for we are all members of the same family, with Jesus as our Brother and His Father as our Father, His Mother as our Mother.
It saddens God when those within the family structure seem to struggle the most with feelings of selflessness, especially when any one of us loses sight of the fact that our time here in this life is but a fleeting moment, in which mistakes we make in the present can become regrets that can haunt us in years to come, especially when one we love or care about or call our friend is no longer with us.
That is why Jesus taught us the true meaning of love, and that we are to love and forgive as God loves and forgives – for in such love, there are no regrets, only joyful memories.
The Scriptures remind us that death can come upon any of us at any time, “For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night.” How we embrace our faith, how we truly live our lives each day, speaks to the life that we will be given after we cross over that final threshold.
For those who truly focus on what it means to be Christ-like in our every thought, in our every word and deed, our faith teaches us that death will have no hold over us because of Jesus Christ and His supreme and selfless sacrifice – “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? …But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
For our Lord and Savior truly is our resurrection! He truly is our life in the midst of all the sorrows and discouragements that we encounter on this side of Heaven! The resurrection of Lazarus is a sign of God’s power, and the promise to raise all who have died in Christ to everlasting life.
Jesus asks us today, “Do you believe” that He will do this. The unfolding events of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ – His agonizing suffering and death, together with His glorious Resurrection and Ascension – give us the undeniable answer.
“Yes!” He can do this, and He will!
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “…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?” (John 11:25-26)
- “I will put my spirit in you that you may live…thus you shall know that I am the LORD. I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.” (Ezekiel 37:14acd)
- “…those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.” (Romans 8:8-9b)
- “But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is alive because of righteousness.” (Romans 8:10)
- “‘Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:54b-57)
- “For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2)
- “Better one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. Better the threshold of the house of my God than a home in the tents of the wicked.” (Psalm 84:11)
- “[He] will repay everyone according to his works: eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality through perseverance in good works, but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness.” (Romans 2:6-8)
- “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
- “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9b)
- “Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3)
Prayer for the Day
“O Most Merciful God,
Great and Omnipotent Judge of the living and the dead,
we are to appear before You after this short life
to render an account of our works.
“Give us the grace to prepare for our last hour
by a devout and holy life,
and protect us against a sudden and unprovided death.
Let us remember our frailty and mortality,
that we may always live in the ways of Your Commandments.
“Teach us to ‘watch and pray,’Anonymous
that when Your summons comes for our departure from this world,
we may go forth to meet You, experience a merciful judgment,
and rejoice in everlasting happiness.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”