Fr. Rick’s Homily – 5th Sunday of Lent (version 1 & 2)

5th Sunday of Lent  A – Fr. Rick Sherman Homily

March 29, 2020

John 11:1-45

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.

Ezekiel 37:12-14 “Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and have you rise from them, O my people!

I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.”

John 11: 44 “Untie him and let him go….”

Version 1 – (Short and easy).  God loves you.  God has always loved you.  God will always love you.  Know that you are loved.

Version 2 – (Longer, but very straight forward)  In the gospel today Jesus, rather curiously, waits just long enough for his friend Lazarus to die before he goes to his aid.  Jesus wants everyone to know that beyond a doubt Lazarus had indeed died in order to demonstrate the power God has over death.  It seems like a very heartless strategy, but Jesus understands that humans have a very difficult time trusting in God completely unless they are absolutely convinced of their own helplessness. When we feel like we are just left hanging, with perhaps life and death in the balance, we can be assured that God is with us and stretching us to the fullness of life for which we have been created. 

            Sometimes we feel like we are ‘dead’ long before we quit breathing or pumping blood.  We might feel like we are trapped as in a grave where it seems we will never feel or see the light of day.  This actually happens to different degrees in most people’s lives, perhaps several times.  As our life experiences expand our knowledge and emotional baseline, we often feel challenged to rethink things a bit in order to keep growing and maturing.  This is a choice, however, that is not automatic.  We may choose to hang on furiously to our current world view and bind ourselves in the world that seems most predictable or manageable.  Hopefully in such cases we have people in our lives that will look for Jesus and call on Him to help us become untied or unbound, come out of our premature graves and live a renewed life.  Our coming out will also change others’ lives as in the case with the gospel today.

            The readings today can take on a special meaning as we as a global population seem to be ‘bound up’ in our houses hoping for the best, whatever that might be.  How is God present in all this?  What ‘new’ truth might God be wanting to teach us as He lets us linger in the grave?

What is holding us in a premature grave?  What is binding us?  Do we have people in our lives who will help us call on Jesus and trust in His mercy and love?  Why do you suppose getting help from Jesus often seems to take so long?  How will we share our new life with others who may be just bystanders or sceptics?

Version 3…… Stand by…… Warning, intended for serious Disciples of Christ who are tired of the grave…