Homily for the 5th Sunday of Lent Year C
Theme: LIVE THE LIFE OF JESUS NOW!!!-
By: Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara
Homily for Sunday April 3 2022
(EZEKIEL 37:12-14; ROMANS 8:8-11; JOHN 11:1-45)
In today’s readings, the Church reminds us that what gives life to our mortal bodies is the Spirit of God. The same Spirit will resurrect Christ on Easter day. He is the one that makes a difference in the life of every child of God. Of all the miracles Jesus did, the raising of Lazarus ranks as the most astonishing to the people of his time. In traditional Jewish mentality bringing back to life a person who is already four days dead and decaying is as unthinkable as the prophet Ezekiel’s vision in which the grave’s dry bones of the dead are miraculously restored to life. Hence, as we prepare for the Paschal Feast, we must cooperate with the Spirit of God that gives us life
Again and again in the Gospel of John people misunderstand Jesus. They understand his words in the normal human way, but Jesus wants to raise people’s thinking and understanding to a new higher way of looking at life. His words surprised people, because he is asking them to see him in a new way, divine rather than human. When Jesus said, “Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Those who were listening misunderstood and thought he was talking of the physical temple in Jerusalem. Nicodemus misunderstood Jesus when he asked, “Is it possible to go back into the womb again and be born?”. The Samaritan woman misunderstood and thought Jesus will offer her running water like water from a faucet so that she won’t have to come to the well every day. We are also very familiar with the bread of life controversy in John six. And so, we come to today’s Gospel where Jesus said to Martha, “Your brother will rise.” Martha professed her faith in the resurrection at the last day, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” But Jesus wants to take her to a new understanding of resurrection. He wants Martha to know that it is through Jesus himself that Lazarus will rise again.
Jesus also wants us to know that anyone who believes in him will live after death, “whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live.” In fact, if we believe in Jesus we will not die, in the sense that the life we live in Christ now will continue after death. When we live as Jesus calls us there is a continuation from this life to the next. When we live as disciples of Jesus spiritually, we will never die. So, the resurrection is not just something in the future, Jesus offers life now. To prove his words to Martha, Jesus raised Lazarus. Don’t miss out on the offer of Jesus’ life to you now. Don’t waste your life. Live life with Jesus. Live the life of Jesus now so that you will not die.
For the early Christians the story of the raising of Lazarus was more than a pointer to the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus rose on the third day; his body never saw corruption. For them this miracle is a challenge to never give up hope; It is never too late for God to revive and revitalize a person, a Church, or a nation. But first we must learn to cooperate with God. In today’s story how we cooperate with a miracle-working God is placed on practical obedience and doing God’s will. First Jesus never removed the stone miraculously, he only asked the people to do so, and they cooperated. Secondly, he commands the rotten man, and he obeys. So, no matter how rotten or down you think you are, you can still do something for yourself. Finally, He said unbound him. And as such to obey God, we must help one another and accept each other’s weaknesses.
So, my brothers and sisters, we must cooperate with Jesus to get miracles, to make the world a better place and more importantly to gain the eternal life that God gives. To understand this, it’s necessary for us to live, in the words of St. Paul in the second reading today, not according to the flesh, that is “being interested in unspiritual things”. but according to the Spirit.
God bless you.
Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara