Selection of the sermons of Father Ezekiel Oko

... zur deutschen Version
Sermon for 5nd Sunday of Lent in the reading year: A

I am the resurrection and the life

Dear sisters and brothers, we are already in the fifth week of Lent. Four weeks are already behind us. But when time flies so quickly, it is important not to lose sight of the meaning of the Easter Penitential Season. The meaning is the encounter with Jesus, who heals us from the wound of sin, who awakens faith where it is lacking, who gives hope in all the hopeless situations of life, who gives life where death threatens us, which threatens us in all that proves his love.

Do you remember that the readings of the last four Sundays have told us the stories of people who have experienced this transforming power of the Lord in their lives:

One was the story of Jesus' disciples who were in despair but whose faith was strengthened by the experience of Jesus' transfiguration. Another time it was a woman who thirsted for the meaning of life and found orientation through an encounter with Jesus.

In Last Sunday's Gospel, a blind man is healed not only of the blindness of his organic eyes but also of his heart and soul. These are all people who met Jesus in concrete need and difficult situations and experienced his love.

Today we are told of the death of Lazarus, whom Jesus brought back to life. The story of Lazarus is to be understood both as a concrete story and in a figurative sense. On the one hand it is the story of a concrete situation, the experience of a concrete person who was dead but came back to life. This perspective of history makes us realize how painful the death of a loved one is.

The two sisters of Lazarus - Mary and Martha - wept and mourned a lot. They were heartbroken at the death of their brother Lazarus, as were all who knew Lazarus. We hear twice from Jesus that he “was agitated and shaken to the core”, yes, in this single case he even wept, that is, deeply human.

All of this is no stranger to us today. Death, sorrow, mourning, in families, in whole peoples. Each of us has cried and mourned as much as Mary and Martha did at the death of someone close to us. A few months ago I was in such a situation. I also cried several times during the celebration of Holy Masses here, when I was praying for my late mother. How painful death is for those left behind!

The story of Lazarus does not end with his death. Yes, Jesus was there, helping the relatives, showing his sincere condolences, in words and in deep gestures. But more than that, he brought Lazarus to life.

"I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even if he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” are the words of Jesus to Martha! Jesus doesn't just want to give Martha false hope with these words. He is serious. He wants to prove that not death has the last word, but life. He wants to show that even the last enemy of human life, death, will be overcome.

Therein, dear sisters and brothers, lies the message of today's Gospel: that, accompanied by Jesus, we can overcome all the difficulties of life - not always as we want, but according to his wisdom and plan for us.

We need faith, faith that Jesus will bring us back to life, that everything will be fine again because he accompanies us. Jesus asks Martha: "Do you believe that?". This is also the decisive question for us: Do we believe that?

We experience that not only people who are close to our hearts can 'die'. (Here we are considering 'death' in a figurative sense.) Other things we hold dear can also die. An important relationship is a good example of this. she can die And when that happens, we feel a deep sadness. Even a project that we have made our life project can die. We can experience such an event as very painful and become heartbroken.

Dear sister, dear brother, I don't know what died in your life that was very important to you. I don't know what you're mourning about now that it's gone. I just want to tell you one thing: don't give up hope, hope that everything will be fine. Don't let your faith die in the One who can make everything right. He tells us: I can give life again. Do you think the?

Gospel of 5nd Sunday of Lent in the reading year A;

I Am the Resurrection and the Life

John 11,1-45

1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when he heard that Lazarus[1] was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 So Thomas, called the Twin,[2] said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” I Am the Resurrection and the Life 17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles[3] off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.[4] Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” Jesus Weeps 28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved[5] in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?” Jesus Raises Lazarus 38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” The Plot to Kill Jesus 45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him.