for Sunday, April 10, 2011
Today's readings speak to us of the resurrection of the dead. Both the
Prophet Ezekiel and the author of John's Gospel speak about people being
brought back to life, people who have died and come back as themselves.
Clearly the afterlife for a believing Christian is a personal experience
and not just being absorbed into the divinity.
Today many people do not believe in any life after this one. Sometimes
teachers in schools even try to convince young people that there is no God
and nothing beyond this life. We who believe in Jesus Christ have a great
confidence in a personal afterlife in which we shall be with the Lord and
fully alive in every way.
When we hear the first reading, from the Prophet Ezekiel, we can at first
wonder if this is just some sort of hope for the future or is it really a
prophecy. Resurrection from the dead is generally not a part of the
teachings of the Hebrew Scriptures. On the other hand, when we find
passages such as this one, we can see how easy it was for some to begin to
think about what happens after this life.
One of the challenges in the Gospel today is that Lazarus is brought back
to life, but will have to die again. There is no promise here at all of a
lasting resurrection, but simply a returning to life after dying. Lazarus
is not raised in the heavenly body that will be his when he dies into the
The second reading, from the Letter to the Romans, is interesting in that
it speaks of living in the flesh and living in the spirit. Most of us
probably know this difference simply from our own life's experience. When
we live in the flesh, we allow our desires, our wants and our attractions
to determine how we live, without examining them very much at all. When we
live in the spirit, we have the same desires, wants and attractions as
before but we look at them from the perspective of our life in Christ and
choose that which helps us live more profoundly in Christ.
Every time that we choose to reject sin and reject that which would lead
us to be less in Christ, there is a sort of resurrection miracle present in
our lives. Ultimately, any serious inner life in Christ is actually the
work of the Holy Spirit and a gift of Christ Himself to us. Yet we must
always do our part by cooperating, by seeking to choose that which helps us
live this mystery of Christ more profoundly.
Living in the Spirit does not indicate that we never sin nor that we are
never tempted to sin. It only implies that we seek to make the choices
that keep us from sinning and which strengthen us in the bonds of serving
On this fifth Sunday of Lent, we can ask that we may know the power of the
resurrection in our lives and that we may respond daily to Christ's
invitation to life.
Readings of the day:
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: