Worship At Home, The Fifth Sunday of Lent

 

 

In these days of COVID-19 we want to offer an opportunity to have access to a Corpus Christi like online worship experience. This web page is our attempt at that. Let us know what you think.


March 29th, The Fifth Sunday of Lent

 

Opening Song (YouTube link):
God Of The Ages – Lori True

 

Click to enlarge:

 

 

 

 

 

Let us begin, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

Amen.

Now, here in this place
with a moment of silence
to reflect,
to focus,
to be attentive to ourselves,
to one another,
and to the presence of Christ,
Grant us the goodness of your grace.
We ask this through Christ Jesus, our Lord.


The First Reading

A reading from the first Book of the Prophet Ezekiel

Thus, says the Lord GOD:
O my people, I will open your graves
and have you rise from them,
and bring you back to the land of Israel.

Then you shall know that I am the LORD,
when I open your graves and have you rise from them,
O my people!

I will put my spirit in you that you may live,
and I will settle you upon your land;
thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.

The Word of the Lord

 

The Psalm

Psalm (YouTube link):

With the Lord – Michael Joncas

 

Click to enlarge:

 

 

 

 

 

R. (7) With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication.
R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
LORD, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered.
R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in his word.
More than sentinels wait for the dawn,
let Israel wait for the LORD.
R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
For with the LORD is kindness
and with him is plenteous redemption;
And he will redeem Israel
from all their iniquities.
R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

 

The Second Reading

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans

Brothers and sisters:
Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh;
on the contrary, you are in the spirit,
if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.

Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
But if Christ is in you,
although the body is dead because of sin,
the spirit is alive because of righteousness.

If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
the one who raised Christ from the dead
will give life to your mortal bodies also,
through his Spirit dwelling in you.

The Word of the Lord


The Gospel

Gospel Acclamation (YouTube link):
Mass Of Mercy – Lori True and Paul Tate

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany,
the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil
and dried his feet with her hair;
it was her brother Lazarus who was ill.

So the sisters sent word to him saying,
“Master, the one you love is ill.”
When Jesus heard this he said,
“This illness is not to end in death,
but is for the glory of God,
that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
So when he heard that he was ill,
he remained for two days in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to his disciples,
“Let us go back to Judea.”
The disciples said to him,
“Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you,
and you want to go back there?”
Jesus answered,
“Are there not twelve hours in a day?
If one walks during the day, he does not stumble,
because he sees the light of this world.
But if one walks at night, he stumbles,
because the light is not in him.”
He said this, and then told them,
“Our friend Lazarus is asleep,
but I am going to awaken him.”
So the disciples said to him,
“Master, if he is asleep, he will be saved.”
But Jesus was talking about his death,
while they thought that he meant ordinary sleep.
So then Jesus said to them clearly,
“Lazarus has died.
And I am glad for you that I was not there,
that you may believe.
Let us go to him.”
So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples,
“Let us also go to die with him.”

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus
had already been in the tomb for four days.
Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away.
And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary
to comfort them about their brother.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,

“Your brother will rise.”
Martha said to him,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“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?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”

When she had said this,
she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying,
“The teacher is here and is asking for you.”
As soon as she heard this,
she rose quickly and went to him.
For Jesus had not yet come into the village,
but was still where Martha had met him.
So when the Jews who were with her in the house comforting her
saw Mary get up quickly and go out,
they followed her,
presuming that she was going to the tomb to weep there.
When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him,
she fell at his feet and said to him,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping,
he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said,
“Where have you laid him?”
They said to him, “Sir, come and see.”
And Jesus wept.
So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.”
But some of them said,
“Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man
have done something so that this man would not have died?”

So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb.
It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.
Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him,
“Lord, by now there will be a stench;
he has been dead for four days.”
Jesus said to her,
“Did I not tell you that if you believe
you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone.
And Jesus raised his eyes and said,

“Father, I thank you for hearing me.
I know that you always hear me;
but because of the crowd here I have said this,
that they may believe that you sent me.”
And when he had said this,
He cried out in a loud voice,
“Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man came out,
tied hand and foot with burial bands,
and his face was wrapped in a cloth.
So Jesus said to them,
“Untie him and let him go.”

Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what he had done began to believe in him.

The Gospel of the Lord

 

 

Homily

(from Fr. Pat)

5th Sunday of Lent Year A

The great lament from health care workers all over the world is “we don’t have enough tests!” They believe if they did, they would know what they were dealing with when it comes to Covid 19 and take the necessary steps to mitigate its spread.

Believers in God know something about tests. Because we do, we would never make that claim. Throughout our sacred history, generation after generation have experienced daily tests to their faith in God. Some enormous. Some small and personal but no less daunting. Every test seems to challenge us to trust more deeply or to simply give up and think God isn’t present and so why waste our time looking for him in the midst of our suffering.

This Sunday’s Gospel is a case in point. Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha were good friends of Jesus. He loved them very much. Jesus hears Lazarus was very ill. You would think upon hearing this he would have dropped everything and literally run to Bethany to console Martha and Mary and to be at the bedside of Lazarus as he lay dying. He didn’t. He kept doing what he was doing. He said to those around him “this illness is not to end in death, but it is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” When Jesus finally went to Bethany, Lazarus had died and was in the tomb for four days.

I wonder what Martha and Mary thought while they watched their brother die, buried him and waited for Jesus to come. They probably thought what we would have. “Where is he?” “Are you sure you gave him the message?” “We thought we were his friends?” “Doesn’t he care about us”. So many thoughts. So many emotions. All of them leading back to the age-old question when we are tested, “why God, why?”

When Jesus finally showed, the crowds lack of faith was palpable. Martha greeted him by letting him know, had he been here, this wouldn’t have happened. But, a flicker of remaining faith, stoked by Jesus’ presence had her add “but I know God will give you whatever ask”. And, because of her faith and Mary’s too, the glory of God was manifested. Lazarus was brought back to life. And Jesus through this miracle, enkindled a new sense of hope and people believed.

During this Season of Lent, as disruptive as it has been, the stories we read in the Gospel, have been retold throughout the centuries for one reason. Real people, suffering real events in their lives, seemingly as tests, to allow the glory of God to be manifested to those who need a boost in their own faith. Recall the words of the people who knew the woman at the well. The people who knew the blind person. And now the people surrounding Martha and Mary in their grief. All those people saw, and they believed for themselves. Their own faith in God was strengthened. Their wondering about where God was when they need him, was dispelled. Their fear they were all alone, was mitigated.

Lent has always been a Season where we have been asked to deepen our own relationship with God first and foremost. When it is strong, so is the relationship with ourselves and others. This Lent has been like no other in modern times. The testing we seem to be going through is not imposed upon us by an angry and vengeful God. It is not caused by our sinfulness or anyone else’s as Jesus told the people around the Blind man. Quite the contrary, it is the human condition. It is life. But, we, like Martha and Mary still wonder, “if you would here, these things would not happen.”

The antidote to every crisis, what will mitigate the fear and feeling God has abandoned us in moments of suffering and even physical death is to believe Jesus when he said “all this will be an opportunity to experience the glory of God.” In other words, what deepens faith in ourselves and others, what keeps hope alive when we are tempted to despair, and what helps us to love each other as God loves us is not just say “I believe”. But, like Martha, acknowledge what she did in the midst of her grief, when she said “even though all of this has happened I know whatever you ask of God, God will give you. May her words and her faith encourage our faith and may the glory of God shine through us and be a sign of hope for others in the days to come.

 

Another Reflection
This Sunday is the final Sunday in Lent. We began Lent with ashes and a reminder of our mortality; remembering we are dust and to dust we shall return. Now in this fifth week from the Gospel of John, Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead is really the climax of Jesus’ public life. This miracle is the last straw, as far as the authorities are concerned, and leads immediately into the plot to arrest him and bring about Jesus’ death. It is important to grasp from the start that when Jesus leaves the “safe country” where he is when the news of Lazarus’ illness is brought to him, and enters Judea to give life to his friend, he is putting his own life at mortal risk. His own disciples question him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, and you want to go back there?” Jesus delays his journey to his friend Lazarus for two days to the frustration of many, but for the purpose of showing there is life beyond the grave. While physical life will cease, the God who called us into life remains faithful to that gift of life. No one is prepared for what Jesus will do next and emotions and frustrations are high as he approaches the tomb, including Jesus who weeps. After they open the tomb, Jesus speaks “Lazarus, come out!” and Lazarus appears bound head to toe in cloths. Many who saw this along with Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, were moved to greater faith and a closer relationship with God. In this passage about death and the raising of Lazarus, Jesus declares, “I am the resurrection and the life.” They are being prepared for what is to come, the Good News to share and the work to be done. The last three Gospels re-count Jesus’ response to some physical need: thirst, blindness, and death. Jesus not only responds to the physical need, but also reveals a truth about himself that leads people to belief. Living Water, Light of the World, Resurrection and the Life.

Death is something we don’t often think about, until we are forced to either by the death of someone we know or by learning of a personal illness. How do we react? With fear, anxiety, frustration, panic, indifference, stress, grief, apathy?…all reactions are valid. As human beings we have fears and doubts not unlike Mary; Why? How could this happen? What is next for me? Is this and ending or a beginning? Could it be both? How do I move forward? How can I be safe? How do I make sense of what is happening? What will life be like now? Why didn’t it work out the way I wanted? What should I have done differently? Is there life after this? Why didn’t God do something? We all have questions, hundreds of them. Or we may be more like Martha, disappointed and sad but not completely hopeless for we have started out with deep faith “but even now, I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” But when push comes to shove, we may still question through our frustration “Lord, by now there will be a stench, he has been dead for four days.” All reactions and feelings are valid. “Jesus wept” is the shortest verse in the New Testament. Just two little words that carry a world of emotions and speak volumes about Jesus. The power of Jesus is in his humanity as well as his divinity. He carries both. Jesus is not distant, aloof, or remote. Jesus is right here, holding us in relationship and acknowledging our pain. He knows what it is like. Though he has come to give eternal life, Jesus weeps over our death and the deaths of those we love and mourn. Jesus knows that disappointment is inescapable, necessary and even a faithful response to life’s circumstances. He neither criticizes nor ridicules Martha and Mary for their reactions, but instead uses it as an opening and entry point into their lives. The great questions before us is whether we experience our life challenges as an opportunity for seeing and engaging our lives and world in new, different, and life-giving ways, or whether we experience it only as a wound that makes us retreat from further participation. The choice is between engaging or retreating from the world and our lives. When we look at all that has changed about our lives and our world; when we acknowledge the uncertainties of our future; when we read the statistics of cases and deaths; when we think about those who are losing their jobs or income; when we wonder how long it will be before we can gather once again with hugs, kisses and handshakes we can become like Lazarus waiting, feeling left for dead, bound, blind and tied. Jesus has not forgotten us. At some point we will hear the voice of Jesus calling us to emerge from our self-constructed tombs. Sometimes it is more comfortable to pretend not to hear that voice, but are we willing to take the risk of starting life afresh? To those gathered around the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus issued the command “Set him free, unbind him.” It was the collective efforts of others which enabled Lazarus to walk free, unbound, at Jesus’ command. This is the time to be in Spiritual Community and make choices to lift each other up. This pandemic can help us focus our attention on what really matters. We can grow deeper in our relationship with God. We can be more intentional about what we choose to do or not do. We can respond by taking a step from the reality in which we find ourselves entombed and focus on liberating others with the help of God’s grace. Focusing on others helps us come out of fear and reminds us to rely on God for our strength. Loving God and our neighbor will look a little different during this time, but it doesn’t mean the commandment has changed and our response to that call is especially crucial at this moment.


Prayers of the Faithful

Sung Version:

 

Loving God, you are always with us, especially when all seems lost and when life seems unbearable. In this stressful time, hear our prayers.

 

For those who are isolated or alone, afraid, anxious, or overwhelmed during this time of quarantine: May we feel your presence through those who reach out to connect…

We pray to the Lord

For all physicians, nurses, and all others who minister to the sick and suffering; keep them safe and healthy; and grant them wisdom, rest, and patience…

We Pray to the Lord

For our President, Congress, Governors, Mayors, Archbishop Hebda and all other leaders: May they receive the spirit of wisdom, charity, and justice, to faithfully serve in their offices to promote the well-being of all people…

We pray to the Lord

For those continuing to care for the needs of those experiencing homelessness or food insecurity: May they be kept safe helping those who are often forgotten in a crisis…

We pray to the Lord

For those who have been forced into proximity under already stressed domestic realities: May they be protected both physically, emotionally, and mentally…

We pray to the Lord

For those who will lose their jobs or their businesses: May we open our hearts and hands to assist where we can, with compassion for those in need and love for our neighbors…

We pray to the Lord

Pour out your healing grace on all who are sick; bring them peace as their bodies continue the work to restore them to good health …

We pray to the Lord

For all who grieve the death of family, friends, and neighbors: Just as you wept for the loss of your friend Lazarus, may we gather to celebrate and remember their lives in the days to come…

We pray to the Lord

Let our hearts not be afraid. Healing Lord, accept the fervent prayers of
your people: We come to you as people confident in your love, yet unsure
about the future. We see the need for life-giving efforts all around us. Help
us to be compassionate toward one another.
We ask this through Jesus Christ the Lord.

Amen

 

A Song of Reflection (YouTube link):
God Remembers – Marty Haugen

 

Click to enlarge:

 

 

 

 

 


Gracious God,
You are our light and our salvation; with you we fear nothing.

Show us the way,
a way that will build up another,
a way that will reveal you in all things,
a way that will place your people front and center of all
our concern, passion and care.
We express our fears, our anger, emotions, and longings
as we pray:

Our Father, who art in heaven…

Amen

 

 

Closing Song (YouTube link):
Jerusalem, My Destiny – Rory Cooney

 

Click to enlarge: