Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.

Take a couple of gentle, slow and deep breaths…becoming aware of your breath going in and out… stay focused on this breath of life……

Breathe in all that is of God and from God…all that is true, honest, pure, admirable, noble, decent, virtuous, worthy of praise, good, loving, kind – all that deserves respect..

Settle into silence, into peacefulness, into profound silence, into pure joy. Keep listening in quietness, stillness and serenity. Come to that place, that space within, that place of deep silence – Solitude…to just being here and now, without having to accomplish something.

Now I invite you to consecrate your time and all that come with this moment….in your own way, in humble, simple, may be even inadequate words………..

Every day that we wake up is a good day. Every breath that we take is filled with hope for a better day. Every word that we speak is a chance to change what is bad into something good….every moment of the day brings new opportunities and possibilities.

May this moment and all other coming moments open new doors for you and may God bless you with wisdom and courage to walk in faith, as you continue your journey through Lent!

Take a moment. Bless your day. Let your day Bless you……Take another moment. Bless your world. Let your world bless you……

The fifth Sunday of Lent calls us to reflect on the mystery of the resurrection. Ezekiel, the Prophet reminds us that it is by the Spirit of God that we will be called forth to rise from the dead and live. St. Paul assures us that the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead is alive in us, transforming us to live the new life in Christ. Jesus tells us that whoever believes in Him will live because He is the “resurrection and the life”.

The Prophet Ezekiel lived in politically turbulent times. He wanted his contemporaries to be filled with the hope that they would emerge from Babylonian oppression as from a tomb. He gave them his vision of “dry bones” (Ezekiel 37). This vision gave a vivid expression of the hopelessness and desperation of those exiled in a foreign, unfriendly Babylon. Without a land to call their own, they were like dry bones strewn on a desert plain, scorched by an unrelenting sun.

I will put my spirit in you that you may live.

I have promised, I will do it, says the Lord. (Ezekiel 37:13-14)

Ezekiel calls them to hear God’s word and promises that the dry bones will be covered with sinews, flesh and skin and come to new life. The desperate will be filled with a new life and a new spirit. What a promise!

The prophet shifts metaphors and begins to speak of the exiles returning to their homeland as rising from the grave and the restoration of life. He sees this national restoration as a new creation by God’s own spirit.

We will pray Psalm 130. This is one of the Psalms of Ascent…..from the depth to the heights. The geographical climb up to Jerusalem that the pilgrim must take symbolizes the pilgrim’s spiritual ascent to God. This movement from the “depths” to the heights can happen only in the unmerited grace of God, “If you, O Lord, kept a record of our sins, who can stand…with you is forgiveness….”

This is the amazing Grace: with you is forgiveness! And you don’t keep records!

Take a moment and pray with the Psalmist:

Out of the depths I cry to you O Lord;

Lord, hear my voice!

Let your ears be attentive,

to my voice in supplication.

You may know someone who needs to cry from the depth. Or you may remember someone who is unable to cry from the depth. Remember them now and cry out to the Lord in their behalf!

We will read from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans (Romans 8:8-11). Paul says, “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You are not in the flesh, You are in the Spirit, the Spirit of God dwells in you.”

St. Paul was deeply conscious of the struggle of Christian living, choosing to live “life in the spirit” as opposed to “life in the flesh”. For Paul, “life in the flesh” characterized the person who chose to live a “self-sufficient” life and not turn toward the help of the spirit. He says that those who are “in the flesh”, that is “self-sufficient”, cannot please God because they have preferred that “self-sufficiency” which caused the down fall of humankind in the first place.

Living “in the Spirit” means accepting the gift of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It means openness to communion with God. The Spirit of God is alive in believers and believers must live in that Spirit.

The story of the raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-45), challenges us to reflect on those forces in our life from which we need to be freed. We are called to reflect on the kind of death that we need to experience in order to come to the newness of life.

As Paul reminded us in his letter to the Romans (8:8-1, referenced above) that “life in the flesh” must die so that we may choose to “live in the spirit”. We are challenged to trust in the Lord and let the Lord do the best for us in His own time and His own place.

Lazarus is “the one Jesus loved”. He was mourned and missed by his sisters and by Jesus himself, “Jesus wept”. Lazarus is a paradigm for every believer, loved by Jesus. Jesus called out loudly to Lazarus: “Come Out”.

This call should resound in our ears today. We are today’s “loved ones”, beloved believers. We need to come out and be “untied” and freed by His loving embrace, His gift of Grace.

So Come Out from the tomb of………….

  • self-sufficiency to need for God and one another……………..
  • preoccupation with yourself to the needs and concerns of others………….
  • busy, busy times to quiet moments of listening and praying………..
  • unimportant and insignificant matters to important, lasting, eternal values……
  • apathy and ignorance to being awakened and enlightened………
  • uninvolvement to dynamic caring for the problems and issues of the world………
  • melancholy and despair to blessings and grace that are yours…….
  • hopelessness and skepticism to dynamic hope for the world………….
  • fears, worry and anxiety to confidence and trust in the Lord………………
  • sin and guilt to forgiveness, grace and freedom……….
  • hostility to hospitality………………………
  • loneliness to solitude…………………..
  • scandal to surprise……………………

Jesus has the power to untie the binding forces in our life and let us go free. Leave it to the Lord and the Lord will do the best for us when it is best for us. Jesus brings new life, new power and new presence.

My Prayer for you:

May your Lenten days of prayer, penance and almsgiving help you to be reborn in spirit, empower you to love without limits, teach you to pray constantly, help you seek the wisdom of God, enable you to live in compassion and help you celebrate the joy of Easter. May God bless you and your family and keep you safe in His Love.

Fr. Gus Tharappel, msfs

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