Fifth Sunday of Lent

Mar 25, 2020

“I am the Resurrection.  Anyone who believes in me even though that person dies will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.   Do you believe this?   Jn 11: 25-26

We are certainly living in interesting and challenging times.  In this pandemic crisis of the Covid-19 virus, we are forced to live differently.  We can’t do the things that we are accustomed to do.  I guess the frustrating thing for me is not doing the things I was accustomed to do. The things I was accustomed to do were good things.  All those things that gave me joy and satisfaction have been put on hold.  And, I find it very humbling. 

On this fifth Sunday in Lent, we read a very familiar Gospel story of the resurrection of Lazarus.  The two sisters Martha and Mary were mourning the death of their brother Lazarus. Their only hope of new life appeared to be somewhat remote.  They suggested that if Jesus was with them Lazarus would not have died.  Martha demonstrated that she had hope in the Resurrection,  but it was still yet to come.  Jesus then proclaimed to her that he was the Resurrection.

This story ordinarily prepares us for the great celebration of Easter as it raises our hope in new life.  This year in the grip of the Covid-19 crisis, it has a particular impact.  Within the next day or so the number of diagnosed cases will be over 50,000, the number of deaths over 500.  This is devastating.  What is most astounding is that people are transmitting the disease and not aware of symptoms.  And, they are doing so by simple human contact.   This simple human contact can have a disastrous impact.  Directors of medical services are worried that hospitals may not have the capacity to deal with people who need the care due to the rapid spread of the virus.

Perhaps as we read the story of Lazarus, we can identify with Martha and Mary.  Our world is coping with sickness and death.  We have hope, yet somehow it seems distant.  We may experience some impatience and frustration and like Martha and Mary and we want Jesus to make it better.  The story however, teaches us of the importance of new life in Christ’s Resurrection.  We are invited to reflect on the mystery of new life in the face of sickness and death.  We perceive the message of new life in the thousands of medical workers and volunteers who in many ways are taking a risk so that others my live.  We hear of gestures of care, human tenderness, and love.   Our families come closer by being together.  We are all growing and learning by being more humble in the face of things we can not control. Our appreciation, based in faith, grows for God’s ultimate invitation to the fulness of life when once we pass from this life to the next.

As the days go by, in our parish, we are trying to be more active on Facebook and the Parish Web Site.   I will continue to write an article for reflection.  Through Facebook will we live stream the Mass every Sunday at 8:00 a.m. in English and 9:30 a.m. in Spanish.  Even though the parish office will be closed for the duration of the Covid-19 crisis, I would encourage you to leave me a message if you need to talk with me.  I will get back to you as soon as I can.  In case of an emergency you can reach me by cell phone 317-437-4757. Unfortunately due to the current social restrictions, the priests cannot come to your house or hospital to anoint.   However, I would be happy to talk with you over the phone and pray with you. 

It is difficult determine when the restrictions will be lifted. It is a moment when we might get a better understanding of God’s time.  I don’t think that God uses a watch or a calendar.  But somehow we are invited to appreciate the mystery of God in our lives, and that by being with him, in his death and Resurrection, we will experience the power of New Life.

Fr. Larry  

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