April 1, 2023
by Nicky Santos, S.J.
Creighton University 's Jesuit Community and the Business School
click here for photo and information about the writer

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent Lectionary: 256

Ezekiel 37:21-28
Jeremiah 31:10, 11-12abcd, 13
John 11:45-56

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Today’s reading from the gospel of John follows the bringing back of Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus’ resurrection is the seventh miracle or sign in John’s gospel. The key to understanding today’s reading is Martha’s interaction with Jesus in the Lazarus story. Martha begins by stating her belief in the resurrection on the last day, but Jesus tells her that he is the resurrection and the life and invites her to believe in the life that he gives in the here and now. Martha embraces this invitation and professes her belief in Jesus being the Messiah and son of God. She accepts that Jesus is the source of life and that anyone who believes in Jesus will never die. In contrast, in today’s gospel, the chief priests and Pharisees, afraid of the popularity of Jesus, deemed it better for him to be put to death to safeguard their own power and authority. They were choosing death over life.

As we move into Holy Week, we will once again be invited to accompany Jesus through his passion, crucifixion, and death and to rejoice in the resurrection on Easter Sunday. The services on Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday are rich and meaningful. In addition to participating in these services, this might be a good time to ask ourselves to what extent do we truly believe in the life that Jesus gives not just after we physically die but in the here and now. Do we really believe in Jesus who is the resurrection and the life by the way we live our lives? Or do we, like the chief priests and Pharisees in today’s reading, continue to crucify Jesus to safeguard our own power, authority, and way of life? In essence, do we choose life, or do we choose death?

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