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Sunday, April 10, 2011

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Fifth Sunday of Lent

Ezekiel 37:12-14
Romans 8:8-11
Psalm 130:1-8
John 11:1-45

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raising the dead and raising faith

"Whoever believes in Me, though he should die, will come to life; and whoever is alive and believes in Me will never die." —John 11:26

Most people want to be present at the deathbed of people they love, but Jesus said He was glad not to have been present when His friend Lazarus died. Jesus was glad not to have prevented Lazarus' death. Jesus was concerned about something more important than death — faith (Jn 11:15). Jesus promised victory over death for those who have faith in Him (Jn 11:26). He challenged Martha: "Do you believe?" (Jn 11:26) She responded: "I have come to believe that You are the Messiah, the Son of God" (Jn 11:27). Jesus promised that Martha would see God's glory, if she believed (Jn 11:40). Jesus prayed aloud for the sake of the crowd that they might believe (Jn 11:42). After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, many of the Jews "put their faith" in Jesus (Jn 11:45).

We are saved by grace through faith (Eph 2:8). "All depends on faith" (Rm 4:16). Without faith, we cannot please God (Heb 11:6). Therefore, two weeks from today on Easter Sunday or Easter Vigil in union with every Mass in the world, make the greatest act of faith in your life by renewing your baptismal promises. Completely submit your intellect and will to the Lord (Catechism, 143). Give your whole life to Him. "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31).

Prayer:  Father, "I believe! Help my lack of faith!" (Mk 9:24, our transl.)

Promise:  "O My people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them." —Ez 37:12

Praise:  "Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, He Who in His great mercy gave us new birth" (1 Pt 1:3).

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our leaflet Lent and the Renewal of Our Baptismal Promises or on audio AV 83-1, AV 83-3, AV 84-1, AV 84-3 or our two-part video series starting with V-83.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, XXX 11, 2011

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