5TH SUNDAY OF LENT A
A simple couple in a Philippine province was disconsolate due to the death of one of their children.
The mother dreamt of her child one night – that she was buried alive in her grave and that she was thirsty and hungry.
The following day, the mother dug out her daughter from the soft soil of her grave, brought her home, and for many days believed that she was in fact alive again. Until, one day, the health authorities intervened, fearful of a health hazard in the community.
Death is one of the most disconcerting realities of life we each have to face. Who is unperturbed by death, but the strongest, the holiest, the calmest among us?
We wrestle with the idea of dying. We revolt at the advent of death. We eschew the sorrow death brings to our lives. That explains the world's alarm at the covid19 these days.
We want to defeat death by summoning life! Alas, we are powerless to manufacture breath!
In Scripture, we read that the plan of the Lord for his creation is life – abundant, happy, unending – until sin and disobedience introduced corruption and death.
It is clear, God is not for death! God is for life. He is pro-life!
God is willing to go to great lengths to make sure life triumphs. Like the sorrowful parent in our story, God wants to dig out graves and release his children from death. Can you imagine that now in your mind?
This is what our first reading (Ez 37) graphically portrays the Lord doing. He is opening graves, raising the dead, and bringing them back to settle in their communities. The health officials will be totally alarmed if it happens today!
But this just a dramatic expression of God’s deepest desire for us, for all his children. He desires only joyful and overflowing life. And when death interferes, he promises a resurgence of life, new life, the Resurrection.
The reading points to the Resurrection, first of Jesus the Son of God, and then of all who accept him as Lord and Savior of their lives.
The Gospel shows us how Jesus, like his Father, defeats death. He literally does what the first reading foretells. He goes to the tomb of Lazarus, weeps for him in longing and love, raises him up and brings him back home.
Lent prepares us for this great miracle of God in human history and in our own lives. At the end of the season is Easter, where death’s power is broken, where its curse if trashed, and where its gloom is shattered.
God defeats physical death. The resurrection of the dead will happen one day, for our departed loved ones and for us, too.
But today God already defeats all kinds of death – emotional, psychological, spiritual, relational, financial, moral - and even the death caused by fear of the corona virus we are facing now.
Is any part of your life today struggling for survival, or has already helplessly collapsed, already dead?
Call on the Lord. Trust him. Express your faith in his power to grant you the experience of resurrection.