A Reflection for the Fifth Sunday in Lent
By Sr. Princess Mary Dawson, MHSH
The story of Lazarus is a glimpse into the climax of Jesus’ life. After escaping his opponents’ attempt at stoning him, Jesus learns that Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary, is ill. Lazarus is not yet dead so Jesus waits two days knowing the one he loves will die, then decides to return to Bethany.
Jesus is showing us a deep understanding of what we, even today, try to accept. Death is a part of life, and Jesus can and does overcome death.
Jesus comes to the tomb and calls Lazarus out. Lazarus comes forth and is helped with the unwrapping of his bindings. Jesus has used the death of his friend to witness the power of God. Lazarus is brought back to life, which gives us a view of death in its totality. The voice of Christ is obeyed and new life is the result for Lazarus. The call here is to hear the voice of God and obey it, then we can rejoice in new life. Jesus’ own Passion ends in having obeyed the Father, and he is given new life. Lazarus’ obedience of Jesus resulted in his coming back to life. Jesus’ obeying his Father made the Resurrection possible and gave us the Risen Christ.
Today let us consider two questions:
How do you understand death today in light of Jesus’ Passion and death?
What role does obeying Jesus play in your daily life?
Day 4: Changed by the Lord’s victory over evil.
Exodus 23:1-9, Do not follow the majority in wrongdoing.
Psalm 1, Happy are those whose delight is in the law of the Lord.
Romans 12:17-2, Overcome evil with good.
Matthew 4:1-11, Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.
In Jesus we learn what “victory” really means, that is, happiness with one another in God’s love through His overcoming of all that keeps us apart. In Jesus we can share in a new life which calls us to struggle against what is wrong in our world with renewed confidence and with a delight in what is good.
The words from Exodus give a categorical warning against engaging in wrongdoing and injustice. The attitude of the majority must not in any way provide an excuse. Nothing entitles a person to do wrong.
Psalm 1 draws attention not only to the need to observe the commandments, but especially to the joyful fruits of doing so. A person who loves the law of the Lord above all else is called happy and blessed.
In Paul’s admonitions we find encouragement to “overcome evil with good.” Only good can interrupt the endless spiral of hatred and the desire for revenge. He calls peace with others and understands our continuous struggle against our instincts to harm those who hurt us.
Matthew describes the Son of God’s struggle against Satan. Jesus’ victory over the temptations in the desert are fulfilled in His obedience to the Father, which leads Him to the Cross. His resurrection confirms that God’s goodness ultimately wins: love overcomes death. His presence calls Christians to act together in the cause of goodness. The scandal is that because of our divisions we cannot be strong enough to fight against the evils of our time. United in Christ, we are called to share in His mission of bringing hope to the places of injustice, hatred, and despair.
This day takes us deeper into the struggles against evil. Victory in Christ is an overcoming of all that damages God’s creation, and keeps us apart from one another. In Jesus we are called to share in this new life, struggling with him against what is wrong in our world, with renewed confidence and with a delight in what is good. In our divisions we cannot be strong enough to overcome evil in our times.
For Your Reflection
- Where do we see evil in our own lives?
- In what way can our faith in Christ help us to overcome evil and the Evil One?
- What can we learn from situations in our community where division has given way to reconciliation?
Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for your victory over evil and division. We praise you for your sacrifice and your resurrection that conquer death. Help us in our everyday struggle against all adversity. May the Holy Spirit give us strength and wisdom so that, following you, we may overcome evil with good, and division with reconciliation. Amen.
Source: Greymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute