Saturday, 28 March 2020 23:53

Fifth Sunday of Lent

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lazarus 350The final of the three Great Gospels of Lent is ours today - a Gospel story of life and freedom. Like the gospels of the last two Sundays, the dramatic story of Jesus raising his friend Lazarus from the dead is a story of faith and belief.

There are three different groups of believers in the story: those who believe that Jesus could have prevented Lazarus’ death (Jesus is already known to be a healer); those who came to believe in him because they see Lazarus rise, and those, like Martha, who believe in Jesus even though Lazarus died.

In this Gospel Jesus proclaims himself ‘the resurrection and the life’. We see him deeply moved by the death of his friend. We find him in earnest prayer with God. We see him full of strength as he commands Lazarus to come out.

To me, the most powerful words in the Gospel are: Unbind him, let him go free.

Freedom is one of the deepest aspirations of the human heart. We long to be free – from illness, worry, fear, the expectations of others, guilt, our faults and so on. The ultimate freedom is freedom from eternal death.

We know we can be physically alive and spiritually dead through envy, greed, fear, hatred. We know we can bring death to others through lies, gossip, meanness, cruelty, withholding forgiveness and so on.

By living the life of Christ we bring life and freedom to ourselves and each other. The choice to remain in death or to rise with Christ is ours to make.

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