Pastor's Desk: Fifth Sunday of Lent
We congratulate the boys and girls who received the Sacrament of Confirmation this week and their families. We had wonderful celebrations on Thursday and Friday with Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and Monsignor John Fitzpatrick respectively. Our thanks go to all who played their part in making the days so special both in the parish and in the schools. You can read Archbishop Martin’s homily here.
As we approach the last days of the Lenten season our focus turns to one of the central tenets of our faith, the resurrection to eternal life. Our Gospel tells the story of the death of Lazarus who was a good friend of Jesus as were Martha & Mary, Lazarus’ sisters. Despite being made aware of how ill Lazarus is Jesus choses to travel in the opposite direction completely. The upshot is that when he finally arrives at their village, Lazarus is dead a number of days already.
When Martha heard Jesus had arrived she went out to meet him, not to greet and welcome him but to confront Him; “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” These are harsh words indeed for Jesus; we can hear Martha’s anger. Mary displays her own displeasure by remaining in the house, she doesn’t even greet Jesus.
All of us who have lost a loved one before their time can appreciate where the sisters are coming from because we too have felt that anger at God. But Jesus goes on to call his good friend out from the tomb they have placed him, ‘Lazarus, here! Come out!’ He returns Lazarus to his sisters. He raises him from the dead.
Our faith in Jesus is not because he said some really interesting things or had miraculous powers but because he rose from the dead himself and promised us, his followers eternal life with him. We will celebrate Christ’s resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday but we do so not as disinterested bystanders but because we hope to have a share in his resurrection too. Just as our loved ones have who have gone before us.