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Homily: 5th Sunday of Lent

Christ, the source of life

Msgr. Joseph Ntuwa's homily on the 5th Sunday of Lent -- March 21, 2021
RCIA (3rd Scrutiny) Cycle “A” Readings

Ezekiel 37:12-14; Rom 8:8-11; John 11:1-45

The gospel readings for the previous two Sundays when we held the scrutinies focused on water and light. Today our focus is on life.  These three narratives are a build up to the Easter Vigil which will also revolve around water, light, and new life.  The three primordial elements simply point to Christ, the source of life. 

Dear friends, nothing in life is more certain than death. The reality of death, which has existed ever since the time of the original sin, has caused so many to water the earth with grief-stricken tears. And not even our Lord was exempt from this. Yes, the God-man – our Lord Jesus Christ, also moistened the ground with his tears, as we heard in that poignant verse: “And Jesus wept”.  Christ really mourned, but not as one without hope. He shared in the sorrow of his friends, showing that he was truly man; but as very God he held power over death, which he would also soon manifest in a surprising way. The sign performed by Jesus in the gospel reveals his identity: “I am the Resurrection and the Life”.  Through the miracle of Jesus, Lazarus has been given back the gift of life. 

It is not only physical death that we experience in this life. Dreams die, as do relationships sometimes. Illness and aging take their toll; we may lose a sense of meaning and purpose in life. With the disciples, we may be honest and tell God that we do not understand His ways. With Mary and Martha, we may shout, “if only you were here, it would not be like this”. We cry and yearn for something; something better, and know that Jesus, who cried at the death of his friend Lazarus cries with us, too. As followers of Christ, we also know that we must die to self, die to selfish and self-centered ways and to all that is not of God. This season of Lent offers us that opportunity.

This Sunday, we celebrate the third and final Scrutiny with the elect. These ritual moments are intense prayer, not only for the elect, as they prepare for initiation at the Easter Vigil, but for all of us, as we ask God to break through our grief, despair, and doubt, to give us a new lease of life. With Mary, the elect and all of us declare, “Lord I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world”. We resolve to live this firm belief as disciples of Jesus Christ. And our faith in Jesus leads us to look for and respond to God’s love, to be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, and to share life with others. When we encounter one who needs companionship-- physical, spiritual, or emotional care, or love, we may cry with Christ “Come out!” Know that you are loved and that there is life beyond this time of trial. When we meet someone, who is bound by addiction, mental illness, or loneliness, we say with Christ, “Untie him or her and let them go”. It is our Christian duty to reach out to others.

As we prepare to call our elect to the final Scrutiny, I request you to enter into prayer with, and for her. Examine your heart and mind as well; what dead in your life that needs new life in Christ now? To what are you called to die in these final days of Lent? 

 

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