Fifth Sunday of Lent
This Sunday is sometimes referred to simply as the Fifth Sunday in Lent, and at other times is known as Passion Sunday. This is because we are drawing closer and closer to Holy Week, in just seven days time we will hear the Passion of Our Lord read on Palm Sunday preparing us for the days that follow. So what grace does the Church pray for during this intensified week of preparation? The grace to “walk eagerly in that same charity with which, out of love for the world, the Son handed himself over to death.” The readings speak of this grace.
In the first reading from the prophet Ezechiel, God promises that He will place His Spirit in His People so that they may live. (Ez 37:14) In the second reading from Romans, St. Paul assures us that it is the gift of the Holy Spirit that makes the life of the Resurrection possible. (Rom 8:11
) There is a temptation to think that the Christian belief in the resurrection of the dead is a hope for an impersonal event in the future. At some point the last day will come. “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” (Jn 11:24
) We might all easily confess this with Martha. But Christ demands more of us. He promises us not just an event in the future, but complete union with Him in the Spirit that makes the resurrection possible. “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25
) As we prepare for the holiest days of the entire year, let us beg God that we may, indeed, have His Spirit placed within us. May that Spirit teach us about how Christ loved even unto death, how we are to imitate Him, and how He will continue to bestow His eternal life upon us.
April 2nd, 2017