Fifth Sunday of Lent
Ez 37:12-14 - Rom 8:8-11 - Jn 11:1-45
As we approach Holy Week, we notice that our Sunday readings are filled with “life over death” references.
The prophet Ezekiel tells us “I will open your graves and have you rise from them.” And then says, “I will put my spirit in you that you may live.”
St. Paul says to the Romans and to us “you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.” Paul follows this with “If the Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the One who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit dwelling in you.”
The Gospel according to John assures us that life overcomes death, that Lazarus, who has died, will rise! We are strengthened by the words of Jesus, “I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all.”
In 2022, mass shootings in the US reported 44,287 deaths. In the Ukrainian war over 8,000 non-combatants have been killed. Over 50,000 people have been killed in the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. In 2022, 3,200 refugees and migrants died or went missing at the Mediterranean Sea crossing. Migrant deaths in 2022 at the US-Mexico border hit a record high of more than 800 people, in part due to drowning in the El Rio Bravo, the angry river.
This incoming data leaves us battered and bruised. While we do not want to bury our heads in the sand and not notice the death around us, we certainly do not want this data to fill our minds and hearts with despair.
Let us encourage each other to return to our Sunday readings and sit in quiet reflection. Let us consider the ways “life over death” can enrich our meditation, can enliven our spirit and we can be strengthened by the words of Jesus.
We close with a reflection on “Life” from Deepak Chopra:
We are travelers on a cosmic journey, and this moment is a little parenthesis in eternity. Life is eternal, but the expressions of life are momentary and transient.
We have stopped for a moment to encounter one another, to meet, to love, to share. If we share with caring, lightheartedness and love, we will create abundance and joy for one another.
Sr. Ellenrita Purcaro, OP