Welcome dear friends to the 5th Sunday of Lent, year A, and the Mothering Sunday, 29th March 2020.
THIS SICKNESS WILL NOT END IN DEATH BUT IN GOD’S GLORY
On this fifth Sunday of Lent the church calls us to reflect on the healing power of God and his ability to restore life back even from the grave. And in a special way, the church celebrates the Mothers Day. The Mothering Sunday is a celebration that flows from the solemnity of the Annunciation by the Angel Gabriel to Mary, of her conception and subsequent birth of the Lord. Thus God and the Church celebrate the gift of Motherhood. So we say Happy Mother’s Day to all women!
In today’s first reading, God restores hope to the Jews who had always regarded the lands of their captivity and dispersion as their “graves”, that He would raise them from their graves, restore them to their soil, and put his spirit in them so that they may live again (Ez 37,12- 14). Their restoration was to be as “life from the dead”. Their ugly condition then is not far from what the children of God are passing through today, in the hands of evil men and oppressive political powers.
The second reading tells us that sin is responsible for our bodily death (Rom 8, 10), and so we need the spirit of God in us, who raised Jesus from the dead, for this Spirit will give life to our mortal bodies (Rom 8, 11). In fact he emphasized that “unless we possessed the Spirit of Christ, we would not belong to him (Rom 8, 9). What this means is that we must ask for His Spirit especially in these trying times and be interested in spiritual matters, things that please God, concern for the welfare of one another especially of the suffering poor, and keep trusting in Him like Martha and Mary did in today’s Gospel reading.
Today’s Gospel lays credence to the fact that everything that happens in the life of a child of God does not take God unaware. God is always in the Know of the situation of his children, even in the face of the COVID19 that is presently ravaging humanity.
In the case of Lazarus in today’s Gospel, his “sisters sent this message to Jesus,
Lord, the man you love is ill. On receiving the message, Jesus said, this sickness will not end in death but in God’s glory” (Jn 11, 3- 4).
However, the bible makes us to know that Jesus did not go immediately to visit and heal Lazarus, thereby preventing him from dying; rather He waited for four whole days until he was confirmed dead and buried, before he called his apostles to go with him to wake Lazarus from “sleep” (Jn 11, 11/17).
What everyone would have expected was for Jesus to decree a word of healing immediately and it will come to pass or move at once to lay hands on Lazarus so that he recovers from the sickness, but Jesus did not do any of these, he simply allowed Lazarus to go through that phase of life for the reason that “it is for Gods glory and that the Son of God will be glorified through it”(Jn 11, 4). As I reflect on Jesus’ action here, some questions are popping up in my mind;
could this Corona virus be one way God wants to use in glorifying His name?
Certainly Gods seeming silence does not signify his absence in our world, does it?
The whole world is locking down; for fear that the virus could spread more, would hunger not take its toll on the poor and less privileged?
What about the sick and dying could this be a way of quickening their death?
Is God angry with humanity?
Jesus saw today how Mary was weeping and the Jews also who had come with her, He was moved in the depths of his Spirit and troubled. The bible recorded that for the first time, Jesus wept (Jn 11, 33-35).
Our tears have become our bread while people ask all day long, “where is your God?” (Ps 42, 3). The whole world has been humbled, great and sophisticated nations have become confused and are almost giving up, for the COVID19 has not only humbled man, but humiliated him. It is therefore time to turn to God. As we take our precautionary measures, we must also know that unless the Lord watch over the city, in vain do its watch men keep vigil (Ps 127, 1).
Jesus loves us as he loved Lazurus, his silence is not to exterminate us from the face of the earth, but a call to seek the face of God, for He says, you will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart (Jer 29, 13).
Mary and Martha sought the help of Jesus and they were not disappointed, may our sincere prayers and supplications reach the ears of God and bring down Gods healing upon our nation and the whole world.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Have a Corona free world!
This sickness will not end in death but in Gods glory!
Fr. Cosmas Ukadike, C.M.