Fifth Sunday of Lent
“Lazarus, come out!” Jesus shouts his command, and a beloved friend rises from the dead. Those of us who have lost loved ones might wish Jesus would call our dearly departed back from the grave too, keeping them on earth a little while longer for companionship. Consider, however, that Martha and Mary had to grieve their brother not once, but twice. The miracle of Lazarus’ resuscitation did not prevent Lazarus from dying again. Difficult as death is to bear, Jesus has a merciful plan for us: not endless resuscitations, but genuine resurrection. Unlike Lazarus, we will die just once, and that is a small price to pay for the majestic reward Jesus has planned for each of us. Jesus is “the resurrection and the life.” If we believe in him, we can live forever in glorious, resurrected bodies free from pain and disability.
The prophet Ezekiel describes the promise of God, to put God’s own spirit within us so we may live. “I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.” Jesus Christ fulfills that promise. If we belong to Jesus, then, we possess all the riches of God’s kingdom. Today, as we stand at the Profession of Faith and recite the Creed with our sisters and brothers in Christ, we can marvel at what the Lord has done for us.
For the third week in a row, our Sunday Gospel reading narrates a bold profession of faith in Jesus Christ. First we had the Samaritan woman at the well, then the man cured of his blindness, and now Martha, the grieving sister of Lazarus. The eclectic mix of believers reminds us that God desires all people to have faith. After professing our own faith during the liturgy today, we are sent to make disciples of all. Strengthened by word and sacrament, let us live bold Christian lives. May our loving words and deeds draw others to life in Christ.
Today’s Readings: Ez 37:12–14; Ps 130:1–8; Rom 8:8–11; John 11:1–45 [3–7, 17, 20–27, 33b–45]