Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
March 9, A.D. 2008
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Psalm 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
A reflection on today's Scripture:
We're on the last lap of our Lenten journey . . . just a couple of weeks left. And, as the drama intensifies in the tension between Jesus and the Pharisees, so too, our personal struggle to overcome the weak spots in our spiritual armor should also "heat up." There's so little time remaining before our well-deserved Easter joy!
What great symbols we've had to tease our imaginations and challenge our minds—water to quench our thirst on the Third Sunday, light in place of darkness on the Fourth Sunday, and now life coming forth from the tomb of Lazarus on the Fifth Sunday.
It's such a startling story—Jesus arrives in Bethany only to find that His dear friend Lazarus has died. Martha has broken the news, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would never have died!" Is she reproaching Jesus, or merely expressing her faith in Him? And what does He do? He bursts into tears, His heart torn with sorrow. What? God is crying! How grateful we are for this glimpse of the tender heart of God! Then Jesus tells them to roll the stone back. They try to stop Him, warning Him of the stench. But Jesus persists. And the Spirit of God enters into the body of Lazarus, and he comes out alive. When the Spirit enters, death departs, for death cannot prevail over Life.
It looks so easy, this miracle of Jesus, but the people are astounded. No one has ever come back from the dead before. He must be the promised Messiah. Yet, in a few short days, how skillfully the propagators of deceit will convince the people that it must have all been in their imaginations! And, through innuendo and suggestion, the crowd will prepare themselves to betray Goodness, and demand an end to innocence, and a cross on which to hang the Compassionate One.
As we go forward on our journey to Calvary, we should not fear the power of evil that so clearly fuels the plotting of the Pharisees. All evil in this world will have a short life. We need fear only our own weakness and vulnerability to falsehood and betrayal. While the action of this divine drama builds to a seemingly final catastrophe, the end is not the end. The epilogue plays out on a bright Sunday morning, and a whole new drama begins. We are the characters of this second and final drama—sharing in the role of the Hero-God, whose victory is shared with millions upon millions, suffering a million crucifixions on a million crosses, right to the present moment.
How amazing and loving and compassionate is our God in the person of Jesus! He wept over Lazarus, wept over Jerusalem, weeps over those killed through terrorism and war, through famine and disease, through murders and rapes—weeps when we fail to forgive one another. In these days of continued wars, terrorism, and ethnic hatreds, may we reflect on the truth that Jesus had to give His own life that we might be assured of life. May we appreciate more each day that we are privileged to share with Him his continual work of bringing the world from darkness to light, from hatred to forgiveness, and from death to life.
- Msgr. Paul Whitmore |
Fifth Sunday of Lent
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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