March 26, 2023- 5th Sunday of Lent

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

   Lent seems to be long for forty days, but it passes very fast when we stay busy with daily preparation for Jesus Resurrection. Next week we will celebrate Palm Sunday, and the following weekend is Easter. Our Lenten preparations and efforts to be transformed by practice of extra prayer, fasting and alms giving, hopefully brought us closer to the Lord.

     Today we have the Gospel of Lazarus being allowed to die, and then being raised from the dead back to life. And interestingly enough, Jesus calls Lazarus dying: “being asleep”, and Jesus promises to awaken him. Is Jesus mocking the death? Is he comparing the death to a sleep? Is it a parable?

   Jesus often explains things by making comparisons and references. If Jesus compares death to being asleep it must be comparable. Do you believe this? It would be nice for us if we all would have the possibility of waking up in heaven as Jesus suggests it. He makes it sound very easy and simple.

   Already, the prophet Ezekiel in the first reading foretells the rising from the graves and putting back the human spirit into the bones bringing them back to life. It would be nice if Jesus could do it more often - for example, if he could rise up those young people killed in Brentwood by gangs, and give them back to their families - to be able to have a "normal " life and a "normal" ending to it one day.

   The Scriptures make this process of rising seem to be so simple and obvious, so natural. Jesus says to the dead friend: "Lazarus come out!!! " Even Lazarus sister Martha says- "it is already four days after death and its already going to be stench," (John 11:39) but Jesus responded to her: " Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God? "

     As Lazarus comes out of the grave, Jesus tells others to untie him so he can walk freely. So last Sunday, we had Jesus making us see the glory of God, by returning the sight to a man blind from birth, and today we see the glory of God by seeing Jesus put back the spirit into the dead body of his friend Lazarus.

Would Jesus do it for everyone or just to his friends?

   Saint Paul says to us in the second reading: "If the Spirit of God dwells in you, the One who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also" (Romans 8:11). What a certainty, what a sequence of things said about dying and rising? In the coming Sunday, we will read the Passion of Christ and take a walk with the Palm in our hands, to follow Christ as he is to take his cross and walk from life to death and back to life again on the Easter Sunday. It is a display of the power and the glory of God, that is promised to those who believe and turn their hearts and lives to Christ. That is the purpose and goal of Lent and of Christian life. This is the Easter we are preparing for all our lives. Risen Christ is waiting for us on the end of our lives. Come Lord Jesus!!!

God bless everyone always!!!

Fr. Stan