First Sunday of Lent (A)

I sometimes say to couples when I celebrate their wedding Mass that they bring weaknesses and hurts with them to their married life and they are called to heal each others’ wounds during their married life. They are to bring the love of Jesus to each other and help each other to grow to become whom God has called each of them to be. In the same way we may bring with us to seminary wounds, weaknesses and hurts. And we too are called to allow the Lord to work in our lives transforming us so that we become whom he has called us to be. In the Gospel today when Jesus had finished praying he said, Lazarus, come out![1] Well, Jesus says to each of us also, “Come out of your tomb, come out your bondage. Do not live in the darkness, live in the light. Do not live in fear, live in faith.” When Lazarus came out of the tomb, Jesus then said, Unbind him, and let him go free. Jesus also says to each of us, “Be unbound and go free trough the Sacrament of Confession. Live with my life. ”[2]

Perhaps this is the crowning miracle of Jesus’ ministry[3]. If Jesus can restore a body that had been in the tomb for four days and has begun to decompose, he can certainly mend the brokenness and wounds of our lives[4].

Jesus said to 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. Do you believe this?”[5]

Jesus asks the same question to you and me “Do you believe that I can mend all the brokenness and wounds of your life? Do you believe that I not only offer you resurrection in the future but also the fullness of life now in the present?”

My brother, my sister, the resurrection of Lazarus is not just a promise about the future of each of us. It is also an invitation from Jesus receive the forgiveness of our sins for instance trough the Sacrament of Confession.

Jesus called Lazarus out of the tomb but Jesus himself did not unbind him, others unbound Lazarus. When you meet Jesus in prayer he calls you out of your tomb, and then the priest unbinds you. You must begin the process of sending a message to Jesus like Martha and Mary by spending time in prayer and inviting the Lord into every aspect of your life and then answering his call to come out of the tomb. The priest in the Confession will not be able to unbind you if you do not firstly accept Jesus’ invitation to come out of the tomb. Then, with the grace of Jesus, the priest unbinds you and sets you free.

What a wonderful invitation Jesus offers us today in the gospel. As we prepare for Holy Week, we invite you to attend our Lenten Penance Service on Tuesday, at 7:00 p.m. Several visiting priests will be available to hear your confession and to help you to accept Jesus’ invitation to walk out of any bondage in the tomb, to be unbound and then go free, to listen to His words: 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

[1] John 11:43
[2] John 11:44
[3] Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead physically in his body. He had been dead for four days. Jesus had previously raised the daughter of Jairus (Luke 8:41-42,49-56) and the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17) and in the Old Testament Elijah and Elisha raised people from the dead (1 Kings 17:17-24; 2 Kings 4:17-37). But nowhere is there an instance of someone being raised from the dead after four days.
[4] In fact in John’s Gospel it becomes the main reason leading to Jesus’ death. (John 11:45-53
[5] John 11:25-26

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris