Homily — Fifth Sunday of Lent A March 9, 2008

Homily — Fifth Sunday of Lent A            March 9, 2008

Today the Church begins the second part of the Holy Season of Lent, which lasts all the till Easter, called Passiontide.   And in the Scripture Readings for the first day of Passiontide, we see, appropriately enough, a lot of Passion going on.  There’s not a dry eye in the Gospel or the Psalm today; everyone is weeping, even Our Lord Jesus Himself.  As we begin the Season of Passiontide, let’s take a closer look at what everyone is being so Passionate about in these readings and see what we can learn from all these tears being shed.

The first person we see weeping today is the author of today’s Responsorial Psalm, which is Psalm 130.  Out of the depths I cry to you O Lord, the Psalmist prays.  Out of the depths of my very being do I weep and cry.   But the Psalmist weeps a very different kind of tears than those in the Gospel are weeping.  The Psalm writer is weeping Tears of Repentance.

After taking an good honest look into the depths of his soul (like many of us have done this Lenten Season), the Psalmist sees how many sins he has committed, and the thought of these offenses against his loving God drives him literally to tears.   And these next two weeks of Passiontide, as we reflect on the sufferings of Jesus, should also be for us a time when we allow ourselves to cry  . . . . out of the depths to God — to weep over our sins, as Peter did Holy Thursday night after he denied Jesus three times.  Because, just as Jesus forgave Peter because he acknowledged his sins and wept bitterly over them, so will he also forgive us for the many times we have denied Him by our transgressions.

Turning to the Gospel, we next see another type of weeping going on:  Martha and Mary and the Jews weeping not Tears of Repentance but Tears of Grief over the death of their brother Lazarus.  And as their tears fall to the ground, they are mixed with the tears of Jesus who is weeping with them.

Jesus certainly weeps along with all the grieving in this world; but, Jesus in this particular Gospel passage is also weeping  for another reason as well:  The death of Lazarus seems to have taken place just a few week’s before Jesus’ own death.  And Our Lord, seeing how grief stricken Martha and Mary and the Jews were over Lazarus’ death, realized that these friends of His were, in a few more weeks, going to be even more grief stricken and devastated over His own suffering and death.  And perhaps seeing how they would weep caused Him to pray in the Garden: Father, if it is possible, let this Cup pass from me;  But not my will, but your will be done.

And so, this Passiontide, we above all join with Martha, and Mary, and John the Beloved disciple, and our Blessed Mother, in weeping over how our Good Lord is betrayed, rejected, abandoned, scourged, crucified and buried by those He came to save.

But, like Martha and Mary in the Gospel, and like the disciples at the Cross, we will find out that all the tears we weep in this life will be dried away, only to be replaced by Tears of Joy when Christ rises from the Dead; and, with Him, all our loved ones who have died believing in Him.

May this Holy Season of Passiontide now upon us help us come to believe more firmly that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life, and that He Passionately loves each and every one of us, more than we will ever know.

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