I miss you all. It was so strange celebrating Mass without you last Sunday. This is to continue into the foreseeable future. We talk about the Eucharist being the source and summit of the Christian life and then we are forced to go without the Eucharist. I know many of you have been able to watch live streaming Mass from various parishes both home and abroad. We had hoped to set something up here but we have missed the boat. Nevertheless I want to thank Paul and Catherine Spratley for all the work they have put into our website so that it can be a means of communicating between us.
Despite the lock down we do have a liturgical rhythm that helps us focus. This Sunday, the Fifth Sunday of Lent, as you entered the Church, you would have seen that all the crosses and statues would have been covered in the Church. We veil our statues and images to heighten our senses and build within us a longing for Easter. The veils are not meant to be there forever. The images need to be unveiled; it is unnatural for them to be covered. The unveiling before the Easter Vigil is a great reminder of our own life on earth. We live in a “veiled” world, in exile from our true home. It is only through our own death that the veil is lifted and we are finally able to see the beauty of everything in our lives.
This Sunday we have the third key passage from St John where Jesus calls his friend Lazarus back to life. Jesus is the one who calls us out of our tomb of fear and anxiety. He unbinds us and sets us free to experience a life of freedom. We hear Jesus say to Lazarus’ sister Martha words that give us comfort and hope: “ 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”. Martha believed Jesus’ words. A short time later, all were able to see the truth of Jesus’ words when, at His command, Lazarus (who had already been in the tomb for four days) came forth alive. The truth of Jesus’ proclamation that He is the resurrection and the life would become even more apparent on Easter Sunday morning with His own resurrection, the final victory over evil and death. The raising of Lazarus was a sign of Christ’s power over death. He is “the life” who pulls down that wall that can seem so impenetrable to us: the wall of death. It shows us Christ’s lordship over death. Christ gives us a trustworthy hope of life beyond death. As soon as a person believes in Jesus, eternal life begins. That is why Jesus can refer to a person physically dying, but yet still living. Eternal life does not start after death, but immediately upon believing in Jesus. The person who has eternal life will never experience a permanent death.
As we approach Holy Week, let us pray that our own faith may be strengthened, so that we, like Martha, can place all our hope in Him who is the resurrection and the life! May the intercession of our Blessed Mother strengthen our faith and hope in her Son, especially in the moments of trial and difficulty we are experiencing through out the whole world today.