5th Sunday of Lent

March 26, 2023

Today we celebrate the 5th Sunday of Lent. As in the previous few weeks, today’s readings teach us a powerful truth. In today’s first reading the prophet Ezekiel speaks a promise from God, “I will open your graves and have you rise from them…I have promised and I will do it.” Core to our Christian faith is the hope of God fulfilling His promise to raise us from the dead. We believe that endowed by God with a soul at our conception, we not only have life here on earth, but life eternal with God for all eternity. In the Cathedral-Basilica above the mosaic of the Resurrection is the famous phrase of St. Paul, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is in vain.” We believe that Jesus truly rose from the dead and sits at the right hand of the Father. This hope strengthens us when we lose loved ones. We believe that death is not the end. For God’s faithful people life is changed, not ended. In today’s Gospel we have the visit to Martha and Mary in Bethany to console them at the death of their brother, Lazarus. It is a glimpse at Jesus’ human side as well as a moment of His divinity. Jesus tells Martha that, ”I am the Resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” And isn’t that the most important question we can answer in the face of death? Do we believe Jesus is who says He says He is? With Martha today, let us say, “Yes Lord. You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

Next week we enter into the holiest week of the year. We begin with Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion. Our Catholic tradition has us celebrating the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem amid cries of joyful Hosannas. We wave palm branches commemorating His triumph as King of Israel. But the mood changes dramatically as we begin the Liturgy of the Word. It takes us into the moments when Jesus begins His Passion and leads us to the Cross. Holy Week is a special time for all Catholics to relive their faith in Jesus, the Son of God, who suffered and died for our salvation. It holds the Church’s greatest liturgies and the events that have shaped our Church for two Millenia. Here at St. Luke I encourage all parishioners to join me in celebrating each day. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are late days of Lent up to what the Church calls the Sacred Triduum. Holy Thursday commemorates the institution of the priesthood and the Eucharist. There is no morning Mass this day in parishes. Mass of the Lord’s Supper will be at 7:00pm. On Good Friday, no masses are permitted throughout the Church. A service of the Lord’s Passion is celebrated in a starkness that helps us reflect on Christ’s suffering and death. During the service, we acknowledge or faith as we venerate the Holy Cross and then receive Holy Communion from hosts consecrated on Holy Thursday. The Service of the Lord’s Passion will be at 7:00pm. On Holy Saturday the Church waits in silence and reflection as we prepare for the great Vigil of Easter. This mass, the Liturgy of all liturgies. It will be at 8:00pm, after sundown. Please make it a Holy Week by celebrating these high holy days as a family of faith.

God Bless! Happy Lent!

Please continue praying 3 Hail Marys. Fr. Pete