Fifth Sunday of Lent

April 2, 2017 / By: Mitch Mueller

“I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will never die” 

Ez 37:12-14/Rom 8:8-11/Jn 11:1-45

To me, the most amazing thing about Lazarus is not that Jesus Raised him from the dead, but that he had been dead all along.  According to today’s readings, we are all walking corpses.  Through our sins, the whole human race has relegated itself to zombiedom.  St. Paul tells us that “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” and that “the body is dead because of sin.”  He is not talking about a body, but all of humanity.

When I first converted to Christianity, I had hit rock bottom in life and felt completely dead inside.  I was like Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes who said “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity” – life itself seemed pointless – a hulking universe hurling towards thermodynamic self-extinction.  Everyone’s worries, dreams, cares, and joys seemed completely absurd because no matter what, the outcome will be the same – universal death.  In the end, all the energy in the universe will eventually dissipate and the cosmos will become colder than Mama Bear’s porridge, far too cold to sustain anything we might call life.

Then I heard Gospel preached.  I stumbled across online videos of a street evangelist.  He would approach people in public and ask them if they thought they were going to heaven or hell.  Almost invariably the people would answer “heaven”.  He would then ask them if they have ever lied, stolen, or lusted, and of course they answered “yes”.  But how can God admit a liar, a thief, or someone who has an adulterous heart into heaven?

We have all chosen death through sin, and death has no place in heaven.  But God, through his mercy, took our sins and so took our death and our punishment upon himself, so that we could be redeemed and raised like Lazarus, if only we give ourselves to him, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will never die.”  Without Christ, “all is vanity”, but with Christ “There is fullness of redemption.”

Mitch Mueller