New Life: A True Gift!
We are a week away from the start of the Holy Week. This coming two weeks, we are about to live the Gospel passage of passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
On the fifth Sunday of Lent in Year A, in the first reading prophet Ezekiel reminds Israelites, during their Babylonian captivity, of the Lord’s promise to bring them back home. During exile Israelites were struggling to keep hope. The divided kingdoms of Judah and Israel represented a chasm that seemed a long way from healing. Ezekiel’s vision of the dry bones revealed God’s power to turn Israelites defeat and destruction into an occasion of renewal and restoration. It also gives hope to people of the Israelites who die before the new exodus. Ezekiel’s vision, the bones coming to life and being covered with flesh could also point to the new life in Christ and resurrection on the last day. We read in the book of Revelation 11:11 “But after the three and a half days, a breath of life from God entered them. When they stood on their feet, great fear fell on those who saw them.” St. Paul, in the second reading, assures us that the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead and who dwells within us will give life to our mortal bodies.
In the Gospel, the revival of Lazarus is a sign anticipating the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus cries at the tomb of Lazarus. When confronted with death, Jesus reacted the same way you and I react. He cried. But then Jesus did something. He called Lazarus out of the grave. He did this not just because he wanted his friend to live. He did this because he wanted us to know that he was the Lord of Life. In the light of Ezekiel, the raising of Lazarus proves that Jesus is the Lord, since he can raise Israelites from their graves. Similar miracles are recorded in the Synoptic Gospels, such as the raising of Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:21-43) and the raising of the widow’s son from Nain (Luke 7:11-17).
Christ waited two days before leaving for Bethany, knowing that Lazarus would be already dead. When he arrived he worked the most amazing miracle by bringing Lazurus back to life. In the raising of Lazarus, Christ showed not only that he has power to raise the dead to life but also that he himself is the Resurrection and the Life.
Death and resurrection takes place in our daily life. Lent invites us to death and resurrection. There are times we feel powerless, but he has the power to call us and say, Lazarus “come out.” Ezekiel gave hope to Israelites by saying that God will take them back to the home and at the same time gave them hope in the resurrection on the last day. Our ultimate goal is to get to heaven, but while we are here on earth death and resurrection takes place every day. The Sacraments are the special ways we meet Jesus and receive grace to live. Through the Sacraments, Jesus gave us the grace we needed to resurrect everyday life and embrace the goodness of the Lord. In other words, Sacraments give us the grace to love God and express that love in action in our daily life.
We have wonderful news! All of the lights are paid for. We will be ordering them soon. I would like to express my gratitude to each one of you who came forward to pay for each light. THANK YOU!