March 26, 5th Sunday of Lent, Rising: a Sunday Scriptures blog

Today our Hebrew Scripture is the end of the famous passage from Ezekiel 37, where dry bones come together. It is paired with John’s Gospel account of the raising of Lazarus. Ezekiel, however, was not prophesying about the resurrection of dead people. His image of newly inspirited “dry bones” was how he referred to the nation of Israel which was in exile, in captivity in Babylon. It was this community that needed to rise again, to be restored. Lazarus was also held captive by death, imprisoned in a tomb, but he was not the only one. His sisters Martha and Mary and their many friends were overwhelmed by grief, and they also needed to be restored. Jesus told Martha, “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.” She professed her belief, and only then did Jesus invite Lazarus to come out of his tomb. All “rising” does not happen at death. It happens as we live. Can you remember times and feelings when you “felt like dying” because something tragic was happening to you — whether physical or emotional or spiritual or mental? I can. Notice the journey we made to the “other side,” the new life or new path or new choice or … .  The Lord God brings the best possible good from the tragic side of life and history and culture. When we open ourselves to the Lord through faith, the Lord who was there for Lazarus can enter our own suffering to bring us new life. This is the last of three weekly Gospels in which John the Evangelist used literal events or happenings to teach us about faith. Now we are ready for Palm Sunday next week, and the Holy Week which follows.

— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia

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