Homily Fifth Sunday of Lent Year A Glory of God

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Homily: Fifth Sunday of Lent Year A

Reading 1: Ezekiel was prophesying that God will raise the dead to life. This can be seen as a preparation for the raising of Lazarus by Jesus. It also could be one of the biblical foundation of the belief of the resurrection of the dead at the end of time.

Ezekiel reflects on the power and promise of God, so as to remind the people in exile who the Lord truly is. The people in exile considered themselves forgotten and forsaken by the God of the covenant. They felt like dead and buried in graves. The prophet reminds them that God will raise them up from their graves and return them to the Promised Land. He will restore them by giving them a new spirit.

In exile they doubted the power and promise of God. But when he makes it possible to return to Israel, they will know that it was the Lord who again has accomplished the impossible for his people. Do we sometimes feel forgotten and forsaken by the Lord?

A deeper meaning of the prophetic word of Ezekiel is found in the Gospel message: the raising of Lazarus from the dead by Jesus. It is a sign that Jesus is the Lord of life.

Gospel: Jesus has given a teaching that he is the Lord of life. He has given a teaching that the dead shall rise from the graves. Now, he validates his teaching by raising Lazarus from the dead, knowing at the same time it will be the final push for the religious leaders to seek his death.

First, Jesus says that the illness and the death of Lazarus will end in the glory of God. Second, his delay has a purpose. He could have healed Lazarus, but there will be greater glory for God, when Lazarus is raised from the dead after four days. It will increase the level of belief in the disciples.

Third, Jesus challenges Martha to come to a greater level of faith in him, not as a friend, but as the resurrection and the life. That belief in Jesus will enable a person to live after physical death. Her response: “I believe you are the Son of God, the promised one.” Fourth, the humanity of Jesus is manifested. He wept because he saw the suffering that Martha and Mary were experiencing at the death of their brother.

Fifth, though Martha said she believed, she did not fully grasped what Jesus had revealed to her. For she protested, when Jesus asked for the stone to be rolled away. Sixth, not only is the resurrection for the glory of God, not only is it to deepen the faith of the disciples, not only will Martha and Mary believe, but the crowd of mourners also came to believe.

We have seen greater and more frequent miracles of grace. Every time our sins are forgiven, every time we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus, we see and experience the power of the Lord. Is our faith in Jesus stronger?

Second Reading: Paul makes a distinction between the flesh and the spirit. For him those who are in the flesh are those living a life of sin. Whereas, those in the spirit are those who are living in the life of grace and in the life of Christ. Those in sin cannot and do not please God and do not at that point belong to God. But those who are living in the spirit have the life of Christ in them because through baptism and through reconciliation they have died to a sinful way of life, so as to live a life of righteousness.

Again, the connection to the first reading and the Gospel. We have been raised from the grave of sin by the Spirit who gives us a share of the divine life of God through his indwelling presence.

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