Sunday April 6, 2014
Mass Readings and Reflection
Fifth Sunday of Lent
This is Fifth Sunday of Lent, the last purple Sunday of this liturgical year. We are now only a week away from Holy Week, and the anticipation is growing.
This week’s first reading from the prophet Ezekiel is very short but high impact. This is towards the end of this book, and comes after a lot of other drama expressed by Ezekiel, including many times where he scared the people by revealing that things were going to be getting worse than their current condition in Babylonian exile. These difficult times came as a result of the unfaithfulness of the people of God. This is the hopeful ending to all of the trials, and an exciting promise that God will bring new life to this tired people. Never fear, the Lord always keeps His promises, and He will not abandon His people.
Responsorial Psalm Psalm 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
R/ (7) With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
This week’s second reading from the letter to the Romans shows a stark contrast between a life led by the flesh and one led by the spirit. It’s as different and life and death. When St Paul speaks of a life lived for the flesh, it’s based upon decisions and direction that are led only by our earthly limitations and personal ambitions. A life lived in the Spirit is one that looks beyond this world and is faithful to the will of God. It’s so easy to get lost in ourselves. Sometimes, we even try to give ourselves the credit for our own salvation. Nothing we do can make us earn God’s love any more. Although, we are capable of letting it go, but it takes humility to accept it and understand that we would never be able to fully pay it back. Our loving God is the only one capable of bringing us into life.
John 11:3-7, 20-27, 33B-45
This Sunday’s Gospel from St John follows the same pattern as most of the other weeks of Lent and gives us two options of length. We hear the well known story of how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. We get to see some of the human relationships that Jesus built while He lived on this earth. He had a deep and personal relationship with Martha and Lazarus that was just like any other earthly friendship. We hear one of the shortest verses in all of scripture “and Jesus wept,” that shows how close he was with this family. This was one of the biggest public signs that Jesus ever gave of His divinity, and it scared many of the Jewish leaders because it led so many to believe in Him. Their anger drove them to desire the death of Jesus and the second death of Lazarus. They hoped that ridding themselves of them, they would have nothing to worry about anymore, but they missed the point. Following Christ shows us that we have nothing to fear, not even death.
As we get closer to Easter, we have to take the time to prepare our hearts for the power of this great mystery. Sometimes we’re just so used to hearing of the great story of Jesus, but our hearts should still be moved and brought to awe from the great things that He has done and is still doing in our lives. Keep your hearts steady my friends, He is near. Our God is near.
Have a blessed week.
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