A HOMILY FOR THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT – CYCLE “A” – 4/2/17 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and Goodness to you this day!
It is thought by many scripture scholars, that Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were Jesus’ closest friends. Jesus was close to the Apostles, but it was a different kind of relationship. And while Jesus didn’t have any brothers or sisters, it is believed that He had many cousins, and other relatives, and neighbors that He also would have been close to, but most likely not as close as He was to Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. It is also possible that Jesus may have had step brothers and step sisters, if Joseph, who was older than Mary, had children from a prior marriage. What is clear in scriptures, is that Jesus had a very special relationship with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. He was very close to them.
Jesus’ relationship with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, reminds all of us that we all need friends. There’s nobody who’s ever lived, who can honestly say that they didn’t need anybody, as they made their way through this life. Friends make every part of this life better. It is a whole lot more fun to go to a movie with a friend. The same could be said about going to the beach, or to a basketball game, or an amusement park. I think most especially going to an amusement park or the fair! It’s even hard to go to an amusement park or the fair with an odd number of friends, because somebody always has to ride the rides alone. And it is always more fun to share the experience with a friend.
Now, most likely, Lazarus and Jesus never went to an amusement park together. And that’s too bad, because I’d like to try and imagine what Jesus would have been like, with Lazarus by His side, while they were riding the Vortex, at King’s Island! I mean, would Jesus have yelled “Oh Dad!” as they went upside down for the first time? I can tell you, from our Gospel today, that never was Lazarus happier that Jesus was a close friend, than on the day that He raised him from the dead. We don’t know what caused Lazarus to die so early. What we do know is that Jesus took His time getting there. In fact, for someone who loved Lazarus so much, Jesus doesn’t seem too overly concerned about what’s happening. Could it be, that from the very beginning, Jesus knows what He’s going to do for His friend? I think Jesus knows exactly what He’s going to do next.
What Jesus does, is He restores life to His friend’s dead body. Even after four days, Lazarus comes walking out of that tomb! Amazing!
This miracle, of course, pre-figures what we’re going to be celebrating two weeks from today, where after only three days, Jesus Himself is going to walk out of His grave. This restoration of life, that we call “Resurrection” changes everything. The God Who created life in the Book of Genesis, now restores that life, even after the effects of sin, have wreaked their havoc, and taken life. We’ll come back to Resurrection in just two weeks.
For now, the take away for us is a renewed hope. Lent isn’t over yet. We have yet to walk with Jesus His Way that we will commemorate during Holy Week. There is still much more for us to do, and to learn, and to pray about before we get to Easter. And yet, the Hope that this account of the raising of Lazarus gives to us, is real, and is going to be vitally important in the next two weeks to come. We can’t go through our crosses without hope. And we can’t go through this life without hope. As the Church, we need to be witnesses of that hope to others. Most especially today, our world is desperate for real hope. The raising of Lazarus and the Lord’s own resurrection, give hope to all of us that one day our own graves will be empty, and we will be with our Lord forever in Heaven. The fear of death, our greatest fear as human beings, has been conquered by our God! With that victory, our hope is amplified, and we are made able to radically live the Catholic Christian life! And we know full well, that nothing can really hurt us, as long as we stick with our God!
May God give us courage to go with our hope, as we strive to live the Gospel, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!