We’ll be using the readings for Year A again this week. For the Fifth Sunday of Lent, the theme of the readings is being raised from the dead. In the first reading from Ezekiel 37, God says, “Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and have you rise from them, O my people!” And in the second reading from Romans 8, St. Paul tells us, “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 Gospel reading today is the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus and his sisters were good friends of Jesus. When word came to Jesus that his friend Lazarus had died, Jesus knew that He could do something about it. So He goes to the tomb, says a prayer and yells, “Lazarus, come out!” And Lazarus is raised from the dead.
Of course we know that Lazarus represents all of us. Whenever we sin, we cut ourselves off from God. In a sense, we die. And just like He did for his friend Lazarus, Jesus weeps for us. But Jesus is always there for us, ready to fill us with His grace; ready to yell out to us from the tomb, “Come out!” Listen…can you hear Him calling?
Father, when we turn our hearts away from you, we are dead in our sin. Help us to hear the voice of Jesus today, calling to us, “Come out!” Amen.