Sunday, March 9, 2008

Homily for 5th Sunday of Lent

Sometimes I laugh out loud when I read Scripture. Sometimes I am utterly surprised by the little details, the little points that make Sacred Scripture so alive, so human. “Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.”

We hear that and we think, “Poor Martha, she doesn’t understand.” Doesn’t Martha realize that she is talking with Jesus the Messiah, the Christ? Doesn’t Martha remember her conversation with Jesus when He says: “I am the Resurrection and the Life?” Poor, silly Martha.

What keeps her from trusting Jesus? Why is she more worried about smell than new life for her brother? What is missing in Martha?

What is missing in us? Why do we worry more about practical things than about the work of Jesus? What is missing in us?

Each day we are invited to come out of the tomb of sin in which we are buried. Each day we are invited to new and abundant life with Jesus Christ. Why do we refuse? We are invited to the life of Jesus through Sunday Mass, frequent confession, and by imitating His prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. This is life! We are called to imitate Jesus.

Saint Paul encourages us: “If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit dwelling in you.”

What is missing in Martha, what is missing in us? What is missing is an intimate relationship with God the Father, through Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Martha always looked at Jesus in practical terms- a guest to feed, a mourner to welcome- but she missed the depths He offered. Do we miss the fullness of Jesus’ offer?

Do we view our faith as practicalities, as pure obligation, as another thing to be done each week? Or is our faith the center of our life? Is our faith a living and giving relationship with Jesus Christ who conquers all of our concerns? Roll back the stone on the tombs of your hearts, do not fear the stench or the darkness in the tomb, Christ calls you out to fullness of life united with Him. Open my ears, Lord, that I may hear your call. I am deaf with sin, shout through my normal life to awaken me to your call. I want to live like Lazarus, I want to live in abundance, united with you, the Resurrection and the Life.

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