Fr. Bart’s Homily for the Fifth Sunday of Lent

The story of Lazarus: An interesting lesson about prayer

First reading: Ezekiel 37:12-14.
Responsorial Psalm: 130: 1-8
Second reading: Romans 8:8-11
Fifth Sunday Gospel Reading: John 11:1-45

Sometimes we hear it said that Lazarus experienced a “resurrection.” In reality, he was brought back to life by Jesus, who would be the only one to experience a Resurrection.

I sometimes wonder how Lazarus felt about this happening. Was he happy about being brought back to life? Disappointed? He would have to die again! We can be filled with speculation about this miracle. Unfortunately, we also can get caught up with the miracle  an easy thing to do – and miss an interesting lesson in this event about prayer.  

Picture the scene: Messengers sent by Martha and Mary arrive tired and breathless and deliver a one-sentence message: “Lord, the man you love is ill.” They and the disciples would have been looking to Jesus for an answer. They could have said: “Lord, the one who loves you is ill.” This would be saying he deserves to be raised from the dead. They could have said “ Lord, come and heal Lazarus!” They would have been dictating to Jesus what he should do. 

Instead we see the message of Martha and Mary as the perfect prayer with the right attitude. Jesus with his Sacred Heart loved Lazarus infinitely more than he could possibly love Jesus! The message is an appeal to Christ’s love. They left it up to Jesus. They plunged all their needs, hopes, and sorrows into the bottomless ocean of Christ’s love with a total and unlimited confidence in Jesus. 

When Jesus arrived at the tomb we learn something about Jesus. Our God is not a distant God but a very personal and loving God. He wept! Being fully human as well as fully divine, he had all the emotions and feeling that we have. It reveals the message of the Incarnation, Emmanuel, God is with us ... and suffers with us. He never abandons us.

When we pray, do we come with the same total and uninhibited confidence in Jesus, with the realization that He loves us more than we can possibly love Him? 

I think we need to hear this especially in these difficult times with this pandemic. We have never experienced anything like this before. It is very easy to despair and lose hope. Let us be filled with the love that Jesus has for us in His Sacred Heart.  

Addendum: As they say: ”Google it." I did, and found the following prayer. Let us pray it daily. 

A Coronavirus Prayer

Loving God, Your desire is for our wholeness and well being.

We hold in tenderness and prayer the collective suffering of our world at this time.
We grieve precious lives lost and vulnerable lives threatened.
We ache for ourselves and our neighbors, standing before an uncertain future. 
We pray: May love
 – not fear – go viral. 
Inspire our leaders to discern and choose wisely, aligned with the common good.
Help us to practice social distancing and reveal to us new and creative ways
to come together in spirit and in solidarity.
Call us to profound trust in your faithful presence,
You, the God who does not abandon.

Peace and all good to you,
Fr. Bart

Tags: Prayer, Lazarus, Fr. Bart Homily, Fifth Sunday of Lent

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