Fifth Sunday of Lent – 2017
Lazarus prefigures Jesus’ resurrection.
As we hasten to the Holy Week that will lead us to the glorious Easter, the Holy Mother Church sets the tone of these events on the readings of this Fifth Sunday of Lent. The two readings of the first and the Gospel succinctly prefigured the passion, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The first reading from the book of prophet Ezekiel says, “Thus says the Lord GOD: O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them, and bring you back to the land of Israel… I will put my spirit in you that you may live, and I will settle you upon your land; thus you shall know that I am the LORD. I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.” The same message of death and resurrection is highlighted by our Lord himself in the Gospel of John as we were told that “Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you." Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise."… [Jesus] cried out in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, "Untie him and let him go."
My brothers and sisters, the reality of the forty days of Lent is not only to die to ourselves in prayer, fasting, and almsgiving (charity or love), it goes further to heighten our liberation from the evil one and sets us free to enjoy the eternal life in Christ. This is what Lent prepares us to experience both now and the life to come in Christ – to untie us from this messy and wicked world and puts his spirit in us so that we may live. How have you done with your Lenten promises? Holy Week comes upon us next Palm Sunday to set us on the roll to the Triduum – Holy [Maundy] Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Please do not miss any of these greatest three events, which is also one act of the Easter Liturgies. It will not be completed without one of them.
Father Uche Obikwelu