The Pastor’s Thoughts — March 26, 2023, 5th Sunday of Lent

March 20, 2023 | By Bishop Roy E. Campbell, Jr.

“I am the resurrection and the life.”

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?” Mary replied, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe.” This must also be our response to the message of our Gospel.

Jesus chose the death of Lazarus to show the power and glory of the Son of Man. Lazarus was dead, but Jesus brought him back to life. When Lazarus came out of his tomb, he was wrapped in burial cloth. Jesus said, “Untie him and let him go.” Jesus freed Lazarus from the bondage of death, to live in the new life Jesus gave him. That is why Jesus told Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live.” Lazarus believed in Jesus and our Lord brought him back to life.

Jesus continued by telling Martha, “and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” Now Jesus is speaking to us and everyone who is baptized in the “Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” We now live in the life of Christ and will never die! Do we believe this?

Lazarus died a mortal death again, and we will die a mortal death; however, through our Baptisms and our faith, we will never die a spiritual death, unless we turn away from Christ. Saint Paul says in his Letter to the Romans, “if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is alive because of righteousness.”

The Pharisees entombed their sins in the darkness of their hearts, by condemning our Lord, the author of life, to death. Often we place our sins inside our own dark tombs, where we hope that nobody will see them, where we hope that they will not be discovered. In our dark tombs, they will only cause us more decay and emit a stench of hopelessness and depression.

The story of Lazarus teaches us that nothing can be hidden from God, no matter how grave the sins are that we have hidden in our tombs. We commit a grave or mortal sin through our own free choice, a choice so contrary to God’s will, that it ruptures our friendship with Him. Jesus desires to approach our sins and to bring life where there is death.

Jesus is not afraid of the gravity of our sins. We must have faith and believe that light always overcomes darkness. That resurrection always conquers death. That love and forgiveness always overshadows the power of sin. Our faith in Jesus and His love for us, should lead us to say, as Martha said: “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe.”

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