The theme of this Sunday is life. On the third Sunday of Lent, first scrutiny, the symbol was water. The Lord gives to the Samaritan woman the living water which she accepts. On the fourth Sunday, second scrutiny, the symbol was the light. The blind man allows the light to enlighten his heart and thus he believes. On the fifth Sunday, third scrutiny, the symbol is life, the life of grace which the elect will receive on the day of his/her baptism, life symbolized by the white robe they will receive after baptism.
First Reading. Book of Ezekiel
Ø This is a prophetic book with a great variety of literary form.
Ø This prophet accomplished his ministry, among the Israelites in exile in Babylon, during very difficult and decisive times in the history of Israel.
It seems that Ezekiel, like Jeremiah had opposed the political intrigues of his time, that wanted to overthrow the Babylonian power.
Ø In our bibles we find this book after Isaiah and Jeremiah.
Ø But it has not always been like this. The former order was:
o Jeremiah first, he prophesized doom and punishment.
o Ezekiel begins with oracles of doom, ends with oracles of consolation.
o Isaiah is all about consolation.
Ø The oracles in the book of Ezekiel are arranged in the following way: cc 1-24 oracles of judgment against Israel. cc.25-48 there is an abundance variety of words of consolation and hope.
« The passage that we will read this coming Sunday belongs to the second part of the book, the part of consolation.
« And truly the text is about consolation.
o Using the image of the dead raising from their tombs
o The prophet announces to the people that the future restoration after the exile will be like the joy of these dead leaving their tombs alive.
« When this will happen the people will know that God is the Lord.
« In our life, when the suffering is changed into joy, we acknowledge that God is truly the Lord, the only one who can change our mourning into dancing.
Paul speaks about flesh and spirit.
Flesh according to Paul is all that belongs to the works of darkness, sin.
While the spirit represents everything that is good in ourselves.
We are called to live in the spirit, that is to say, in the way of good because we have received the Spirit of God who abides in us.
We all have received this Spirit of God when we were baptized and confirmed. In the whole world many brothers and sisters are preparing themselves to welcome the Spirit of God in their lives, the day of the celebration of the sacraments of initiation on the Easter Vigil.
Every Sunday when we pray the creed we say “I believe in the resurrection of the flesh (dead). This resurrection is only possible if the Spirit of God lives in us.
The Spirit of God abides in me, in the deepest recesses of my being. Am I there to share with him? Where am I?
Gospel Jn 11,1-45
ü This sign, the miracle of Lazarus shows that the Father has given to his Son Jesus power over life and death.
ü In the gospels of Mark and of Luke (Mk 5,22-23; Lk 7,11-16) the Lord gives life back to someone who has just died.
ü But in the case of Lazarus four days have already passed, therefore enough time for his soul to have left the body, which has already begun to decompose.
ü Thus the power of Jesus over life and death is shown.
ü Lazarus, the dead man, is the brother of Martha and Mary. The Gospel of Luke presents these two sisters welcoming Jesus into their home. Mary listens to him and Martha is busy serving him.
ü In vv. 9-10 the John plays with the words light and darkness. Jesus is our light, with him we will not stumble because his light enlightens us, it is daylight, we can do the works of the spirit (Paul talks about in his letter to the Romans), but when we depart from Him, we stumble because we do not see, it is night, we do the works of the flesh.(Paul says that to the Romans)
ü Jesus postpones to go to see Lazarus, he waits until he has died, and he says to his disciples that he is glad for their sake because this will help them on their journey of faith.
ü John portrays the two sisters behaving in a similar way that Luke presents them in his gospel.
o Martha, the woman of action, goes in haste to meet Jesus who is still on his way.
o Mary does not move until her sister tells her that the Teacher calls her.
ü The dialogue of each one of these two women with Jesus has some resemblance:
o Both say to Jesus, maybe as a complain, if you had been here…
o As he did with the Samaritan woman, Jesus tries to take Martha a step forward in her journey of faith. From faith in the resurrection on the last day, to believe that Jesus has the power to bring Lazarus back to life now.
o For the miracle to take place Martha has to believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Yes Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God.
o The Samaritan woman received the precious revelation that Jesus is the Messiah; the blind man received the revelation that Jesus is the Son of Man and Martha hears Jesus saying I am the resurrection and the life.
ü Those who had come to console the two sisters wonder, if this man who opened the eyes of the man born blind, could he not do something so that Lazarus would have not died? We all have doubts when we do not understand, when things do not go the way we expect. We do not understand the ways of God, but it is not about understanding but about trusting in his infinite and unconditional love.
ü Again the Lord dialogues with Martha to bring her to unconditional faith, in spite of not seeing or not understanding, only then she will see the glory of God. Only when we surrender ourselves completely in his arms we enjoy freedom which allows us to fly and to break our chains.
ü Lazarus comes back to life, transformed and free by the word and power of Jesus. Untie him.. and let him go free. (v.44)
ü Those who saw the sign believed, Jesus had already given thanks to his Father because this sign would made them believe in the Father. (v. 41a-42)