Homily for the 5th Sunday of Lent Year A
Theme: True meaning of Life
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Sunday March 29 2020
*FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR A*
Life is bigger and larger than the things the physical eyes can see; it is deeper than what the human mind can comprehend. Human Life goes beyond its earthly dimension. It has a spiritual dimension and this spiritual dimension gives true value and meaning to the earthly dimension. To live disconnected from the spiritual dimension of life is to be empty and unfulfilled. To live with attention and focus on the spiritual dimension of life is to truly live and to prepare for eternity with God which is the ultimate goal of the Christian Life. May Christ, through the merits of His Paschal Mysteries, keep us safe for the Resurrection day and lead us to Eternal Life; Amen.
The story of Lazarus in the Gospel Reading of today (John 11:1-45) was a very important instance in the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ and a central experience for the apostles and disciples of our Lord. This is understandable because it was always a moment of confusion whenever Jesus made reference to His impending journey to Jerusalem, His imminent suffering and death in the hands of the leaders of the people. Beyond His reference to these critical moments of His life, He never failed to point out to them that He will surely come out victorious; “the Son of man is about to be handed over… They will condemn Him to death… and on the third day He will be raised up again” (Mt 20:18-19). The raising of Lazarus from the dead was that moment when Jesus foreshadowed what was to happen to Him and also a moment of His further self-revelation to His followers; “I am the resurrection and the life.” In the raising of Lazarus to life, we encounter an instance of the Easter Joy and the joy we shall have on that very day of “the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.” Faith in Christ opens up to us the true meaning of life and elevates “our hearts and minds as the eyes of our souls” to see beyond the boundaries of this passing world, to see beyond the limitations of this earthly life and to see the fullness of life in Christ; the sublime life from above that gives meaning to the inferior life here below. This is the faith Martha professed today; “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the One who was to come into the world.” This profession of faith changed the mood of the family of friends of Jesus, of Mary, Martha and Lazarus; and restored their joy.
This faith in Christ is what makes us pleasing to God, heralds of the New Life in Christ and partakers in the power of the resurrection. This faith is a gift from God and it connects us to the Spirit Who is “the Lord and Giver of life”; and the power of the Spirit within us transforms our horizons and orientations into that of Christ such that “He who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to our mortal bodies through His Spirit living in you” (Romans 8:8-11). This faith, connecting us to the Spirit of God, leads us to experience in ever new episodes the realisation of the Word of God through the Prophet Ezekiel (Ex 37:12-14), especially in this trying times; “I am now going to open your graves… and I shall put my Spirit in you, and you will live, and I shall resettle you on your own soil.” The grave is never the final abode of those who believe. This our lord Jesus Christ demonstrated by raising Lazarus from death and this also He will perfect at Easter when He will break forth from the tomb in His splendour and glory and in the brilliance of the New Life that is the portion of all the redeemed; all those who believed in and hoped on God. It takes faith in Christ and daily effort to live and practice the faith to perceive the connection between the inferior life here on earth and the superior life in the celestial realm. Perceiving this connection is a sign of a healthy attention to the spiritual dimension of our earthly life. The Season of Lent is a time to nurture more deeply such attention. The coming Easter festivities bring us to recognise that attention to the spiritual dimension of life is not devoid of merits. And the raising of Lazarus from death rejuvenates our faith and sustains our spirit to make the necessary eschatological leap to testify that truly “if anyone believes in Christ, even though he dies, he will live, and whoever lives and believe in Christ will never die.”
Lord, our Creator and Redeemer, as we go through the path of life here on earth, may we always be conscious that this passing world is not the end of our story. May we never lose sight of You our Father; nor of the merits of your Son Jesus Christ nor of the ever abiding presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst; Amen.
Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE