Sunday Lenten Reflections – Week 5
One could say that our readings this weekend proclaim boldly for each one of us a vision of hope. In the first reading, dry bones are wholly without life are knit back together; graves are opened and the dead are not only raised but are brought back to the land of Israel. God’s spirit is newly breathed into this new people and they will come to life.
In our second reading, continues that vision of hope by speaking to us about a new creation, however, it is not dry bones or bodies emerging from graves. Rather, Paul expounds and understands that baptism into Christ makes the believer one with Christ. In his letter to the Romans, Paul writes, “We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.” Therefore, the reality for us is that the Holy Spirit of God dwells within us, so that the “fleshy things” of the world are no longer important. The internal (spiritual things), and the external (worldly things). St. Augustine spoke to this very issue when he wrote his classic work entitled the City of God, which talks about this in wonderful terms. The battle that wages within us between the City of God and the City of Man.
Today’s gospel also paints a significant picture of Jesus, who despite his love for Lazarus, delays is return until Lazarus has died in order that his disciples might come to a much greater belief. Moreover, in today’s gospel, Jesus says, “our friend Lazarus is asleep, but I am going to awaken him.” The imagery is striking, and it echoes St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians we heard last weekend, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” If we are to read the story of Lazarus not simply as a story about Jesus victory over bodily death, but also as his victory over sin, then we can see ourselves like Lazarus, lying in the tomb of our own, at times, ungodly actions; bound by them the way Lazarus was bound by his burial clothes.
This season of Lent and Easter can and does display for each one of us the drama of death and resurrection. But it is a drama we are called to, we are exhorted to and we are invited to participate, as we too, pass over from a life of sin into the new life that Jesus offers us. This new life is a life that we can begin to live now. The promise God makes to each one of us now through the Prophet Ezekiel, “ I will open your graves and have you rise from them,” is a promise that has already been kept in our salvation from sin.
After Jesus had spoken these words of self-identification, “I am the resurrection and the life,” he asked Martha: “Do you believe this?” He also asks us that same question today and everyday, “Do you believe this?” to which we may respond, Amen, Yes Lord I DO!!!!
May God continue to bless each of you this week with his choicest Lenten Graces for our own unique Crosses will lead each of us to the glorious Resurrection Christ has promised………………..JMJ……………………………