Fifth Sunday of Lent April 10th, 2011 Year A

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Dear Friends:

Who has not experienced grief and sorrow, the anguish of loneliness, the pain of separation from loved ones, the loss of someone dear to us, the worry and anxiety of those closest to our hearts, the concern about the future?

Jesus experienced deep grief and sorrow at the death of Lazarus, like Martha, Mary and their friends. Lazarus’ sisters were almost collapsing, but in their midst was Christ who changed everything. As man, he wept for Lazarus; as God, he raised him from the dead.

Jesus knows pain better than we do. And now, being moved with deepest emotion, being troubled in spirit, his tears mingled with those of Martha, Mary, and friends so naturally. “See how much he loved him!” people remarked when they saw him weep. The tears of Jesus now flow for us and for all who suffer everywhere. Lazarus is a symbol of agonizing humanity. But Jesus did more than weep that day. He brought Lazarus back to life again. Just as Martha, Mary, and their friends are symbols of suffering humanity, so is Lazarus a symbol of humanity’s deliverance, of our ultimate and final victory over sin, pain, suffering, and death.

For us, Lazarus is a symbol of the goal of Lent—for the Church, for the catechumens, and for each one of us, who has been concerned not only with the pain of living but also with our personal growing up and coming to new life at Easter—our conversion, our becoming new again.

So what can we do? We must try to imitate Martha. The story presents her as a model of faith. In her hour of grief, she ran to the Lord and poured out her sorrow to him. And when Jesus challenged her to believe, she made a wonderful profession of faith: “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world.”

I am the resurrection and the life,
Whoever believes in me, even if he dies will live,
And everyone who lives and believes in me
Will never die (John 11;25-26)