March 21, 2021: The Fifth Sunday of Lent - Pastor’s Corner
Life. Vitality. Vigor. In the Gospel of John, Jesus’ mission is to bring life. At the beginning of the Gospel, John says that it is the Word of God through whom all things are made and without the Word nothing has life. Flowing from God’s love, the Word becomes Incarnate, so that “all who believe might have eternal life.” When Jesus identifies himself as the Good Shepherd, he reveals his divine purpose: “I have come that all might have life and have it more abundantly.” At the Last Supper, he tells Thomas, “I am the way, the Truth and the Life.”
There is no better example of Christ as Life than the dramatic account of the raising of Lazarus we read this weekend. In a tender, tearful moment with his treasured friend Martha, Jesus identifies himself as the source of all the living: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live.” Jesus lives to give us life: now and forever with Him.
And yet, there are many aspects of our existence which seem dead and lifeless. Like Lazarus, we are bound head to toe with our bad habits, sins and addictions. Moreover, the daily headlines paint a grim picture of world events. Just as the crowd wonders why Jesus didn’t heal Lazarus when he was sick, we might wonder why God does not seem to intervene in the face of illness, pandemic and death. Today we see Jesus response. He weeps in compassion, and then he restores in power. Raising Lazarus from the grave is a promise that Christ has conquered death itself and that he wants to share his life with us, even in this moment.
One practical way that we might experience the Resurrection in our daily lives is through a regular morning prayer. This past Wednesday we celebrated the Solemnity of St. Patrick (the Great!). As co-patron of our diocese, St. Patrick is a model of living and sharing the Gospel in places where the light of Good News is absent or has been dimmed. Tradition has given us a beautiful morning offering called the Breastplate of St. Patrick. This prayer has inspired beautiful music, and it opens our mind and hearts to the energy and vitality of Christ in our lives. As we arise each morning, we call the strength and vigor of Christ to empower us as we go through the day. Annually during this time of year, I am in the habit of praying this prayer during my morning offerings. I invite you to join me this year, in praying this prayer each morning as we head into the mysteries of Holy Week.
- Fr. Michael
St. Patrick’s Breastplate
I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity. Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort me and restore me. Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend or stranger. I arise…Amen.