Weekly Preaching

Beginning a New Way of Living

Fifth Sunday of Lent
March 29, 2020

Ez 37:12-14/Rom 8:8-11/Jn 11:1-45

Sister Marie Lucek, OP
Sister Marie Lucek, OP

Sickness, and avoiding it, is on the minds of everyone these days. All workers at Sinsinawa Mound must have their temperatures taken before they can report to work. Sisters are eating in shifts and then only two at a table. We attend Mass on our computers via livestream. The fact that there is no vaccine to treat coronavirus (COVID-19) causes great anxiety. We feel helpless. This experience gives us an idea of what the family of Lazarus is suffering. Lazarus is very ill, there are no vaccines, and Martha and Mary feel helpless. Where do they turn? They call for Jesus, but he doesn't come and then Lazarus dies. 

Jesus arrives in Bethany four days after Lazarus has died. It is the Jewish belief that the soul leaves the body after three days, so this means Lazarus is truly dead. Jesus comes at great risk; the Jews want to stone him, but Jesus never lets danger or risk be the deciding factor in what he does. Jesus tells Martha he is the resurrection and the life. We know we will all die someday and experience resurrection. But Jesus is saying, Martha, you can have new life right now.

Then the dramatic moment comes. Lazarus hears the voice of Jesus calling and he comes out of the tomb. What a sight! A mummy covered in burial cloths! Someone who had been truly dead. How can this be? Jesus has just done the impossible, impossible, that is, for anyone but God. How will Lazarus respond?  Will he begin an entirely new way of living?

During these days we know God is with us; we have turned to God in our helplessness. Jesus tells us he is the resurrection and the life. Our life right now. Dare we believe that God can do the impossible for us? After this pandemic subsides our lives will be different. Will we try to go back to life as before or will we begin an entirely new way of living? However our life unfolds, if we are filled with the Spirit we will be truly alive and life-giving to others.  

Sister Marie Lucek, OP