Sunday, April 6, 2014

Fifth Sunday of Lent
Today’s Gospel passage is a particular favorite of mine. Although the story foreshadows the resurrection all of us will share in Jesus, this account of Lazarus is not about his resurrection. Jesus resuscitates Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus will die a natural death later as we all will. This story shows Jesus’s true identity as Son of God stressing his powerful divinity so that others may believe…
What is appealing to me is the fact that the story also illustrates in detail the humanity of Jesus. We observe Jesus displaying strong human emotion and we get an insight into the relationship he had with a particular family. Jesus was intimate friends with Martha, Mary and Lazarus and is described as having loved them. Mary anointed Jesus with perfumed oil and dried His feet with her hair, and the dialogue between them (“Lord, if you had been here…”) reveal an intimate relationship. (In Luke’s Gospel, there is an account of Jesus dining at their house for dinner and some friendly bickering ensues.) Furthermore we are told that Jesus wept and that He was perturbed—human emotions which are common to us all.
The story of Lazarus holds in tension Jesus’s humanity and divinity in a captivating story of hope and love. We can be confident that Jesus understands our human condition, our hopes and dreams, victories and defeats, achievements and burdens. When we present ourselves to Jesus in prayer, we have a partner encouraging us to become the person God wants us to be. As we journey these last two weeks of Lent, let us be disciplined in our prayer by calling to mind Jesus’s presence, knowing that we have a Brother who understands us from His own human experience, continually extends His loving hands to us in our need, forgives us or our failings and gives us life eternal.  

May God grant us the faith to believe, as the onlookers in this story did! Amen.

Fr. Brian Cummings, S.S.E. ‘86, Director of  Edmundite Campus Ministry

First Reading: Isaiah 43:16-21
Psalm 126:1-6
Second Reading: Philippians 3:8-14
Gospel: John 8:1-11

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

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