Father Arthur’s Homily March 29 – Do We Take Advantage of Jesus’ Love?
5th Sunday of Lent – Year A Gospel John 11:1-45
Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany,
the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil
and dried his feet with her hair;
it was her brother Lazarus who was ill.
So the sisters sent word to him saying,
“Master, the one you love is ill.”
When Jesus heard this he said,
“This illness is not to end in death,
but is for the glory of God,
that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
So when he heard that he was ill,
he remained for two days in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to his disciples,
“Let us go back to Judea.”
The disciples said to him,
“Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you,
and you want to go back there?”
“Are there not twelve hours in a day?
If one walks during the day, he does not stumble,
because he sees the light of this world.
But if one walks at night, he stumbles,
because the light is not in him.”
He said this, and then told them,
“Our friend Lazarus is asleep,
but I am going to awaken him.”
So the disciples said to him,
“Master, if he is asleep, he will be saved.”
But Jesus was talking about his death,
while they thought that he meant ordinary sleep.
So then Jesus said to them clearly,
“Lazarus has died.
And I am glad for you that I was not there,
that you may believe.
Let us go to him.”
So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples,
“Let us also go to die with him.”
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus
had already been in the tomb for four days.
Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away.
And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary
to comfort them about their brother.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,
“Your brother will rise.”
Martha said to him,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
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?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”
When she had said this,
she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying,
“The teacher is here and is asking for you.”
As soon as she heard this,
she rose quickly and went to him.
For Jesus had not yet come into the village,
but was still where Martha had met him.
So when the Jews who were with her in the house comforting her
saw Mary get up quickly and go out,
they followed her,
presuming that she was going to the tomb to weep there.
When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him,
she fell at his feet and said to him,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping,
he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said,
“Where have you laid him?”
They said to him, “Sir, come and see.”
And Jesus wept.
So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.”
But some of them said,
“Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man
have done something so that this man would not have died?”
So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb.
It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.
Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him,
“Lord, by now there will be a stench;
he has been dead for four days.”
Jesus said to her,
“Did I not tell you that if you believe
you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone.
And Jesus raised his eyes and said,
“Father, I thank you for hearing me.
I know that you always hear me;
but because of the crowd here I have said this,
that they may believe that you sent me.”
And when he had said this,
He cried out in a loud voice,
“Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man came out,
tied hand and foot with burial bands,
and his face was wrapped in a cloth.
So Jesus said to them,
“Untie him and let him go.”
Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what he had done began to believe in him.
Father Artur’s Homily for Sunday, March 29
The author Gabriel Garcia Marquez once said that there is one event that he would not be able to describe in writing—the most important event of his life: his death. My brothers and sisters, Jesus spoke about his death many times. We know this from the number of times the Gospel writers write about this in Scripture.
He did not die only for the Chosen People. He died for you, for me, and for the tiny baby in its mother’s womb. He died for the homeless person living on the street and for the C-E-O of the most successful company in the world.
Yet, my brothers and sisters, Jesus’ death came at a great cost. We must remember that Jesus suffered in an unimaginable way. Even before He suffered, Jesus expressed His interior suffering by saying “I am troubled now.” Could you imagine, my brothers and sisters, God, who created the entire world, being troubled? It makes sense, though, that Jesus would be troubled because the very people whom He created out of love wanted to kill Him. The very individuals to whom he came to save desired to take His life.
My brothers and sisters, Jesus died for Love. In other words, He died because He loves each of us in a unique way. He loves us so much that He was willing to give His very own life for us. From a spiritual point of view, it is very important to take advantage of Jesus’ love.
It is very important to grow in an awareness of His Love, because His Love was shown at the most precious cost: the cost of His life.
One day, my brothers and sisters, each of us will die. We do not know when or how. But we do know that at the moment of our death, we will encounter Jesus and His Love. At the moment of our death will we be open to accept Jesus’ Love and Mercy? Or, will we reject His Love and choose condemnation?
On this Sunday, my brothers and sisters, I would like to invite you to take some time to reflect on how you will use the remaining time of Lent to grow closer to Jesus. I would like to encourage you to ask yourselves: “Do I really want to take advantage of the redemptive death of Jesus? Do I really wish to take advantage of the grace of Jesus’ death and Resurrection?” Jesus gives us the privilege to be His sons and daughters; He gives us the opportunity to go to Heaven. But do we really care about this? Do we live with this awareness? Do we care or are we indifferent?
As you consider your answers to these questions, please remember that God Loves you. His greatest desire is for you to be united with Him in Heaven for ever. Amen.