Browsing Homilies

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Ez 37:12-14 | Ps 130 | Rom 8:8-11 | Jn 11:1-45

Our third of three lengthy and yet beautiful Gospel stories, we hear proclaimed today Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Word is sent to Jesus that the one whom he loved is ill. Who is the one Jesus loves today? It’s us, it’s all of us! And so every time we gather together and we bring to the altar of the Lord our needs, our desires, our hopes, our dreams, our doubts, our fears, our strengths, our weaknesses; even our virtues and our vices, we are in essence saying to him, “Lord, here is the one whom you love!” This parish community with all of its members, here we are the ones whom you love, crying out to you to touch our lives—to raise us anew in the power of your Spirit. Because, indeed, you have called us the ones whom you love. We are, and we need to believe that.

And of course, we know that from the story, that Jesus waits—making it seem as if our needs, and hopes, and desires aren’t always fulfilled. That doesn’t mean that Christ isn’t present, that he isn’t listening, that he isn’t acting. Because Christ always acts for the glory of God and for our good. And so, when his disciples question him about why he’s not immediately going to Lazarus, he says the glory of God will be revealed. Indeed, when we gather here the glory of God is always revealed in our midst. God touches our lives.

And Jesus goes. And as Martha meets him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” And Jesus tells her, I am the resurrection and the life.” He isn’t just talking about something that we are promised after we have passed from death’s door. He is talking about the fact that he is the resurrection and the life in the here and now—that his presence, his grace, his Spirit is constantly raising us up. In the midst of all of life’s struggles, it is here where we find peace and consolation. It is here where we find hope in the midst of the disturbances in our lives. It is here where Christ strengthens and nourishes us. It is around this table, around this altar of the Lord, where this community of faith gathers to strengthen one another in prayer and in song, as Christ is revealed in our lives. “I am the resurrection and the life—for you, right now! Do you believe that?” And her response was, “Yes, Lord, I believe. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who has promised to come.”

And at every Eucharist we stand and essentially say the same thing, “Yes, I believe!” And Christ touches our lives.

When you approach this altar today, to receive from Christ the very gift of himself in Holy Communion, in the great feast of the Eucharist, hear Christ calling to you, as he calls Lazarus; calling you by name, and saying, “Come out! There is no need to live in fear, there is no need to live in darkness, there is no need to live in death, but come to life. Come out," as he calls forth to us our best selves; as he tries to bring forth from us the person that God has always created you to be. Hear him call you by name and say to you, “Come out, because I am with you. Come out, and live!”


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