5th Sunday of Lent
Of all Jesus’ miracles, the most unsettling might be when he made a dead person alive. We know of three times when he did so: a girl, a young man, and Lazarus. The miracle teaches us he has the power of life and death. He anticipates his resurrection. Sin hurts us. Some sin kills us, spiritually. The three miracles reveal to us that no matter our circumstances, Jesus can give life to us.
The three miracles are instructive of the three ways we feel dead. The little dead girl symbolizes sin before it has time to mature. She’s in bed and, once alive, gets right back to her life. The young man is lying in his casket in a funeral procession. This is sin allowed to fester, to grow and become somewhat normalized. Once raised, he has a short walk back home. Lazarus, a full-grown dead man, lies wrapped in burial bands in the tomb. Once he is raised, much needs to be done. He’ll need to remove those bands, find new clothes, and travel all the way back home. That is sin allowed to go all the way, unchecked for months or years. It’s the most spectacular of the three and reveals Jesus’ glory more than the others.
What hope that should give us, for us and those whom we love! Jesus knows our sin hurts us and can even kill us spiritually. No matter the extent of the damage, he is always ready for the miracle of making the dead fully alive.
— Father John Muir ©LPi
Offer it up. My grandmother used this phrase with her children, and my mother, in turn, used it with me. It’s a kind of verbal heirloom, a gift of wisdom from a generation that knew suffering all too well.
We know it to be true that God will work through our suffering if we invite him to. We know it and we have seen it — we have only to look at Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary.
But, often, I invite God into my suffering only to tell Him where I want Him to stand. I make an offering of suffering but expect God to do something very specific with it. Teach me this, please. Give me this specific grace. Show me this specific answer.
The happy ending in today’s Gospel is not the alleviation of the sorrow Martha and Mary feel because it isn’t alleviated, Lazarus is still human, and death still awaits him. Someday, his sisters will have to mourn at his tomb. That loss and pain will not be avoided.
The happy ending is that he is resurrected now, and in doing so, brings so many to belief. The happy ending is that Martha and Mary do not abandon discipleship because things didn’t work out exactly the way that they wanted. They run out to meet Christ, eyes dim with tears. They fling themselves into his company and onto his providence.
They made an offering of their suffering, and their happy ending is that their offering was accepted.
“You are not in the flesh, on the contrary, you are in the spirit.” — Romans 8:9
Monday: Dn 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 or 13:41c-62/Ps 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6/Jn 8:1-11
Tuesday: Nm 21:4-9/Ps 102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21/Jn 8:21-30
Wednesday: Dn 3:14-20, 91-92, 95/Dn 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56/Jn 8:31-42
Thursday: Gn 17:3-9/Ps 105:4-5, 6-7, 8-9/Jn 8:51-59
Friday: Jer 20:10-13/Ps 18:2-3a, 3bc-4, 5-6, 7/Jn 10:31-42
Saturday: Ez 37:21-28/Jer 31:10, 11-12abcd, 13/Jn 11:45-56
Next Sunday: Mt 21:1-11/Is 50:4-7/Ps 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24 (2a)/Phil 2:6-11/
Instead of telling people he was the Savior, Jesus showed them. By raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus sent a message loud and clear. Jesus was the Savior they had all been waiting for. He was filled with God's love and power, and many people believed in him.
Thank you for showing me that you are my Savior, Jesus.
Something to Draw
Draw a picture of Lazarus wrapped up like a mummy, walking to Jesus.
Mission for the Week
Write the words, "God can do anything" on a piece of paper. Read it every morning.
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God revealed to the prophet Ezekiel his divine plan for the resurrection of the dead: “I (will) open your graves and make you come up out of them, my people!”
As a person of faith, how does this promise give you hope?
Paul insists that for believers, the Spirit dwelling within us gives life to our mortal bodies, raising us from the dead as Christ was raised from the dead.
How does this impact your thoughts about death itself?
In her grief and sadness at the death of her brother Lazarus, Martha professes her belief in Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God. As the season of Lent draws to a close,
in what ways have the last 40 days strengthened your faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior?
God already has the solution.