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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Lenten reflection, fifth Sunday

Scripture readings: Ezekiel 37:12-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8:8-11; John 11:1-45

Every day through the news or even in our own experience, we become aware of people dying—because they do not have enough food, through some sort of violence in the streets or the home, or from other death-dealing realities.

We might think, “So, what’s new?” Things can and do happen. We easily become insensitive to these deaths and to the reasons behind them.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus experiences the pain of loss in the death of his friend Lazarus. Jesus not only consoles Lazarus’ family, he also gives them hope: “Our friend, Lazarus, is asleep,” and he can awaken and come back to life.

Jesus knows people want to kill him. Nevertheless, he takes the risk to give his friend back his life, without thinking about himself. For Jesus, death means life, self-giving, risk. Jesus does not stay on the outskirts, like Martha and Mary: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus brings abundant life in God.

For Christians, death keeps us living in hope of eternal life in God. What does death mean for you? How have you experienced the death of a friend or family member? What do you do to bring the hope that Jesus brings to others?

Sister Melissa Garza, M.P.S.
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Download our 2014 Lenten reflections booklet here