Homily for the 5th Sunday of Lent

This is the last Sunday of Lent. I am not sure how it went so fast! Whatever the reason, we find ourselves in the same situation we were when Lent began. Jesus is the center of all things. He may be the center of all things and yet it’s quite possible we still do not know who he is.

The first voice we hear is that of the Serpent. Twice he says: “If you are the Son of God…” “Why are you so hungry when you can turn these stones into bread…?” “Why don’t you throw yourself down from the top of the temple and let the Angels catch you?” Whoever Jesus is

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, he is strong enough to resist that kind of temptation. Since we are not Jesus, we may not have the strength to resist
temptation in just about all areas of our life. So we need to remember… let us let Jesus do the work and the miracles to keep us strong.

On our Second Sunday, Peter, James and John walk with Jesus to the top of the mountain. Jesus comes down transfigured before their eyes. They come down, transformed into believers. Their past as fishermen; now all but blocked out by the vision they have seen. Peter says: Let’s stay here; It will be easier up here than down there. Scripture tell us “they were very much afraid.” They forget about what they saw on the mountain top and they let things go back to the way were: Let Jesus (HIM…) do the work and the miracles.

Our Third Sunday we encounter a non-believer, the Samaritan Woman at the Well. She first calls him “a Jew” then ”Sir” then “a prophet” then indicates she may just believe after all: “I know that the Messiah is coming… “ then she calls him “the Christ.” The disciples simply call him “Rabbi” – which simply means Teacher. Then all the Samaritans no longer disbelieve but call Jesus “the Savior of
the World.” Let Jesus do the work and the miracles and all will come to believe.

Our Fourth Sunday, even a blind man sees and can tell there is something special going on. The disciples once again see him only as “Rabbi.” But a new vision is trying to sneak into the world. At first the man who was formerly blind says: “Jesus” did this, then “a prophet” then “the Christ” who cannot be acknowledged as such for fear of being ostracized from the community then “God” then “the Son of Man.” Let Jesus do the work and the miracles, so all can see.

This fifth Sunday of Lent things seem to be mixed up a little more than usual. We hear the disciples call Jesus “Rabbi” once again. And, earlier in the Gospel, when we first meet Martha, Mary and Lazarus it is Mary who runs out to meet Jesus and stays at his feet in prayer. This Time Martha runs out to Jesus, to show her faith, and yet she still doubts. Mary stays home.

Lazarus is no longer around to host Jesus at his home in Bethany. It is up to the two women, who should have been hidden in the background, mourning the loss of their brother. They are strong and authoritative women. They know their friend, Jesus, and call him “Master.” Jesus tells them to look for “the Glory of God.” They call him “teacher” then “Lord.”

We know Jesus loved Lazarus yet, not once, do we ever hear Lazarus speak in the Bible. And today he is bound up, strings wrapped around his arms, cords around his legs, two stones on his eyes, his mouth tied shut, a cloth around his head – lifeless in a tomb with a stone in front. It is his sister who says, don’t call him forth. It has been four days, “Lord, by now there will be a stench.” Just leave
things the way they are…

And Jesus cries “Lazarus, Come out!” Have we seen enough? Is it our turn to say what we think of Jesus?.

“Jesus wants to do to us – to all humanity — what he did to Lazarus. Let us step out of the tomb. Let us take the bonds from our arms and our legs, remove the stones from our eyes, take the cotton out of our ears and mouths, and let us live with him.

Let Jesus do the work and miracles so all might live.