(5th Sunday in Lent – Year A)
Reading the four Gospels we find that Jesus knows and speaks about His impending death and Resurrection (e.g. Mt 16:21; 17:9; 17:23; 20:19; Mk 8:31; 9:9; 9:31; 10:34; Lk 9:22; 18:33; Jn 6:39-44, 54).
As our Lenten journey advances towards the Easter festivities, more and more, the Gospel passage each Sunday sheds light on the Mission of Jesus. This Sunday we are presented with the Gospel passage (John 11:1-45) in which Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. It is an illustration of His claim: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though they die, will live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die”. The new life of the new covenant is given to the world through Him. It is His sacrifice that will save the world, and it is His Resurrection that will bring in eternal life which is available to all those who believe in Him. But believing demands that we hope, and hoping demands that we love.
To attain eternal life, we must participate in the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, and that is what we do at Mass. Perhaps the words of St Irenaeus, a second century Church father is very poignant:
“Just as bread that comes from the earth, after God’s blessing has been invoked upon it, is no longer ordinary bread, but the Eucharist, formed of two things, the one earthly and the other heavenly: so too our bodies, which partake of the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, but possess the hope of resurrection” (Adv. Haeres. 4,18).
Psalm 27 ends with the great prayer of hope in the resurrection: I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! May it also be our prayer and hope.
Praise to Your Lord Jesus Christ, Fr Michael