Reflection for the Fifth Sunday of Lent

March 28, 2022 | By Bishop Roy E. Campbell, Jr.

“ I am the resurrection and the life.”

We have a number of Catechumen, now the Elect, entering the Church and even more Candidates receiving full communion in the Church at the Easter Vigil, so my reflections are from the Fifth Sunday in Lent, Cycle A.

Jesus remained for two more days in the place where He was after learning that his friend, Lazarus, was dying. Jesus waited so that there would be no mistake that raising Lazarus from the dead would be a miracle that only He could do. Jewish people believed that the deceased soul remained near its body until it could no longer recognize its body due to decay, about four days, then the soul left the area of its body.

When Jesus arrived in Bethany, Martha told Him that her brother died and had been in the dark tomb for four days and there would surely be a stench. Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Martha said, “Yes.”

We place our sins inside our own dark tombs, where we hope that nobody will see them and where they will not be discovered. There, they will only cause us more decay and emit a stench of hopelessness and depression. We may think that our sins are so dark and ugly that even Jesus would not want to approach their stench. We may even think that they are hidden from Him.

The story of Lazarus teaches us that nothing can be hidden from God, not even our sins, no matter how grave the sins are that we have buried in own dark tombs. Jesus desires to approach our sins and to bring life where there is death. Jesus is not afraid of the stench of our sins. We must have faith that the light of Christ always overcomes the darkness in our lives, that His resurrection conquered death, that His love and forgiveness always overshadow the power of sin. Like Martha, we too should believe in Jesus.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation, the Sacrament of God’s forgiveness, gives us a fresh start, a new beginning, and a new lease on life. If we have any sins entombed in us, we must roll away the stone from the tomb of our hearts during this last week of Lent. We must ask Jesus to approach our sins, no matter their stench, and overwhelm them with the sweet fragrance of His forgiveness. We must believe in Jesus, for only in Him can we experience the Resurrection and the Life.

– Bishop Roy Campbell

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