HOMILY FOR THE 5TH SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR A.
THEME: GOD IS NEVER LATE IN YOUR AWFUL SITUATION
BY: Fr. Boniface Ogonna
1st reading. Ez 7:12-14
Resp. Ps 129
2nd reading. Rom 8:8-11
Gospel. Jn 11:1-45
Most times, Christ’s actions surprises us. “When Jesus heard that his friend Lazarus was ill, he remained for two days in the place where he was.” So, was Mary not justified to be angry? Was Martha not right to blame Christ? “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Indeed, this is a normal human reaction to disappointment, misfortune, and distress. It comes from a truly broken heart. It is a genuine search for answers to the “whys” of life. It is a search in the right place and from the right person, the All-powerful God and Creator of all things.
In today’s quick, fast, and time-conscious world, Christ will have no job. He will be tagged as lazy and accused of negligence, irresponsibility, insensitivity, and uncharitable. Even though he had no connection with the cause of the patient’s death, the blame for the death of many will be heaped on him. Of course, a duly constituted state or federal panel of inquiry will quiz him for many hours to indict him for negligence.
So, it was once that a friend lamented bitterly about how the negligence of doctors and nurses caused her sister’s death. After sympathizing with her for her loss, I asked her, “How old was your sister? “85,” she responded. How long was she sick? “Umm…about eight years. She always had seizures and often ended up in the hospital. This last one was terrible.” With tears rolling down her cheeks, she added, “But the doctors and nurses did not act fast as before.”
Afterward, I gently told her, “Oh, that is a pity.” Perhaps, it was her best time to go and rest. Maybe the pain was too much for her system this time. Maybe, she was already too weak before she reached the hospital, and there was not much the doctors and nurses could do to help her.” Then, I gently asked her, “Do you think these are possibilities?” She paused, smiled, and responded, “Yes, Father, honestly, I have never thought of it this way.”
Dear brothers and sisters, sometimes, our loss could be so devastating, powerful, and traumatic that we lose the capacity to see the other side of reality. It can be strong that someone other than us must be held responsible. Sometimes, it makes us lash out even at those who try to help us. Indeed, I saw and acknowledged this aggrieved parishioner’s loss and pain. The grief and trauma she suffered because of the death of her beloved sister were genuine, just like that of Mary and Martha at the death of their beloved brother, Lazarus.
Unfortunately, the same grief and trauma made it difficult for them to see the other perspective and reality of Christ as the Savior, the Resurrection, and Life. However, Christ helped them to see this by calming their nerves and pain. He attended to them, healed their broken hearts, restored their faith, and prepared them for the miracle of their life.
Dear brothers and sisters, has God come late to your rescue? Do not lose hope. God sees you. Dead or alive, Jesus loves you as he loved Lazarus and will surely be there when we least expect him. Is your heart broken and grieved for what and whom you have lost? God knows best what that means to you. Do you seek answers to your whys? Take a break from your grieving zone, pause as that woman did, and do not speak much. Let God speak because he has a message for your broken heart and traumatized body.
Yes, God knows, God sees, and God will surely come. God is never late. Even if God comes late by our human reckoning, God will make all things new again. If we believe like Martha, God will heal our brokenness and raise us again through the power of the Holy Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead.
Have a blessed Sunday celebration
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