|March 27, 2017: The Fifth Sunday of Lent|
|Come Out, Arise!
Our readings on this Fifth Sunday of Lent are clearly calling us to arise from darkness, death, and all that is dead and deadening in our minds, in our hearts and in our lives. To do this we must slow down, live reflective and deeply contemplative lives open to forgiveness, mercy and healing.
Living reflectively and contemplatively, especially for Franciscans, is not a turning away from the world. Rather, our life and our spirituality draws us to live in right-relationship in the world and for the world. We are called to see, act and move in Christ, as St. Paul reminded the Romans, “If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through the Spirit dwelling in you.”
Interestingly in light of our readings, a quote of Karl Rahner, Jesuit priest and theologian, came to mind. Rahner wrote, “The theological problem today is to find the art of drawing religion out of people, not pumping it into them. The art is to help people become what they are.” For me Rahner is saying we must live the Crucified Redemptive Love that has already been gifted and given to us in baptism. We must be attentive to God’s Divine Presence, the Holy Spirit, continually dwelling in our humanity and in all of creation.
I believe, as Rahner stated, when we keep ‘pumping religion in’ our focus is simply on the rules, laws, and doctrines. The light and the life of Christ, given in baptism, remains buried deep within us. The Light of Christ is not meant to be entombed and hidden, it must be expressed through our engagement in compassion, mercy and justice making the Kingdom of God visible today.
So questions arise – are we Lazarus, bound and sitting within darkened tombs of our own creation? Are these tombs of fear or indifference? Do we allow indifference to deaden and deafen us from the needs and the cries of others? Does fear drive us to possess more than we really need? Does indifference silence us from questioning and challenging those in positions of power within our church and our government?
Even if we are like Lazarus, lifeless, bound and sitting in the darkness within a tomb, the gospel impels us to believe that Christ is outside calling us into the light of freedom, compassion and new life. It is Christ who will draw us out. We cannot do this by ourselves. Are we willing to listen for the voice of the Crucified Christ who weeps for the suffering and the many deaths that we have brought upon our own humanity and creation itself?
God calls to us, “O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them…” Let us believe in our hearts and through our Christic actions proclaim God’s freeing and life-giving love!
Sr. Margaret Magee, OSF
By your help, we beseech you, Lord our God,
may we walk eagerly in that same charity
with which, out of love for the world,
your Son handed himself over to death.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.
Come Out, Arise!