Gospel and Homily for 5th Sunday in Lent, Cycle A

posted Mar 27, 2020, 10:58 AM by Michelle Massung

Gospel      JN 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?”
Jesus answered,
“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.

The Gospel of the Lord



Homily for 5th Sunday in Lent, Cycle A, Raising of Lazarus


            With this being the 5th week in Lent, we all need one final word of encouragement to help us get us through these final days of Lent and Holy week.  So John gives us a long story to give us this encouragement.  A first glance, it is a story about the raising of Lazarus from the dead, but actually, it is a story about faith, hope and love, especially God’s love for us. 

            One of the first questions to be addressed is why did Jesus wait two days to go to Bethany when he heard that Lazarus was near death?  From the story, we hear that Jesus wanted to wait until Lazarus was dead, I mean really dead.  You see, the Jews believed that a person was not truly dead until after 4 days had passed.  They believed that a person’s soul left them after three days so on the fourth day, they believed the person was truly dead.  Jesus had cured many sick people but never raised anyone from the dead.  In our times of need and we need the healing power of Jesus or need his help in our lives, how strong is our faith? Do we truly trust in God and are willing to accept God’s will in our lives? We see such faith in the example of Martha and Mary.  They prayed that Jesus would heal their brother Lazarus.  Once Jesus shows up, they are very upset that Jesus was not there to heal their brother.  Yet Jesus still restores Lazarus to life.  They had the faith and trust that God would somehow answer their prayers and Jesus does.  He just does it in a way that they had not anticipated.  

            We too need to die to self like Lazarus did so we can rise again in glory on Easter.  This takes not only faith, but hope in the message that if we die to our own selfish ways of life here on earth, we will rise again when Jesus returns.  We need this hope to give us the courage to know that all our efforts are not in vain.  We have the hope that in our own death, we will share in the resurrection on Easter. 

            Jesus also shows a great deal of love.  This passage contains the shortest verse in the Bible, “And Jesus wept.”  This show of emotion gives us a clear indication of the human side of Jesus.  Don’t we weep at the death of a loved one? I know I do.  Why, because we love them and are going to miss having them around in our lives.  Jesus felt the same way.  He used to spend a lot of time at the home of Martha and Mary and Lazarus.  They were like family to Jesus.  Now Jesus was sad that his friend had died.  However, we know that Jesus loves us all equally.  We are all his friends and he weeps when we die as well. Yet he weeps even more when we are sinful.  Jesus shows us that his love will overcome not only that death of Lazarus, but also the death of our sinfulness.  That is why we celebrate Easter, because Jesus had done for us what we can’t do for ourselves, overcoming our own sinfulness. 

            But that is not the only thing that may be dead inside of us.  Do we truly believe that God loves us as much as he does? This is a very difficult concept for us to fully grasp.  The closest I can think of is a parent’s love for a child.  At some point in our lives, when we are old enough to know better, we realize that our parents love us.  If we fully realized this love that Jesus has for us, chances are, we would not turn our backs to God so often and sin as often as we do.  This love by God inside of us also needs to be resurrected for others to see, just like the Jews saw when Jesus raised Lazarus.  This is the true miracle of this story.  The love of God overcomes sin and death and God is glorified as a result.  The new life in Christ needs to be on display for others to see.

            Today, we may have heard the story of the raising of Lazarus by Jesus. Yet, it can also be our story of our own death to self and our sins and our resurrection in a new life of love in God.  This new life in the love of Christ should be bright enough for all others to see.  In this way, more will learn to believe in Christ, in the same way that many Jews came to believe in Christ After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.  This week, let the light of the risen Christ shine brightly for all others to see.





Sincerely in Christ,


Fr. John Gibbons



'Life is not a race - but indeed a journey. Be Honest. Work Hard. Be Choosy. Say 'thank you', and 'great job' to someone each day. Go to church, take time for prayer. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh. Let your handshake mean more than pen and paper. Love your life and what you've been given, it is not accidental ~ search for your purpose and do it as best you can. Dreaming does matter. It allows you to become that which you inspire to be. Laugh often. Appreciate the little things in life and enjoy them. Some of the best things really are free. Do not worry, less wrinkles are more becoming. Forgive, it frees the soul. Take time for yourself ~ Plan for longevity. Recognize the special people you've been blessed to know. Live for today, enjoy the moment.

Bonnie Mohr