Icon of Lazarus Saturday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What must it have been like to stand at the tomb of Lazarus and hear Jesus say roll away the stone and call to Lazarus to come out and then everyone who witnessed to be told to untie and let him go free? What would if you were Lazarus and you laid in the cold tomb in death for four days and you heard the Lord call your name? You awake from your slumber and arise from your sleep and you make your way out of the tomb. The community assists you with untying your bandages and you are set free. Where do you go first? What do you say? Who do you go and visit?
Like Lazarus, Lent is a time of slumber as we await the Easter joy of God calling our name and untying our bandages. When was the last time you heard God call your name? What are the areas of our own lives that we have kept bandaged up? Who do we need to seek to help untie them? Where is God already at work in leading you back to a renewed life?
- 5th Sunday in Lent: Mar. 17 (prayerscapes.wordpress.com)
- The 5th Sunday of Lent (benethillmonastery.com)
Here is another reflection for this Sunday..
This year, I celebrate my 20th year of my journey of being Catholic. I came to the Church during my teen years, being raised in a Protestant family, the world of the Catholic Church was quite foreign to me as an “outsider.” However, I was seeking? Quite honestly, during that time in my life, I’m not quite sure what I was seeking. I knew I wanted a deeper relationship with God and I knew that many of my friends were Catholic. So during those early days it is tough to distinguish between what I really seeking, inclusion in the household of God or greater inclusion with my friends. In either case, one leads to the other.
This week’s readings for those places that celebrate the Scrutinies, hear the story of the Samaritan women at the well and Jesus asking for a drink. In this reading we hear of Jesus talking both of giving the water, the life-giving water that brings new life, and that you will thirst no more and food so that you can do the will of the One who sent me. I have had the privilege to journey with several communities of people who are also o their journey to the Catholic Church this year and in my journey with them, I am renewed and reminded of “What I seek?” Life in the community of Christ, is also the life-giving water that can lead you to “thirst no more.” One of the striking differences I have seen in my spiritual journey, is the role and life of the community. It is the community that teaches us about life in God and it is our reflection on the life of God, especially when reflecting on the life of the Trinity, that teaches us about what it means to be community. While the water that we drink is the life of the community, this water only leads us deeper into desiring the life-giving water of life in God. The prayer of Exorcism for the First Scrutiny reminds us the interdependence of life in the community and life in God.
“God of power, you sent your Son to be our Savior. Grant that these catechumens, who, like the woman of Samaria, thirst for living water, may turn to the Lord as they hear his word and acknowledge the sins and weaknesses that weigh them down. Protect them from vain reliance on self and defend them from the power of Satan. Free them from the spirit of deceit, so that, admitting the wrong they have done, they may attain purity of heart and advance on the way to salvation. We ask this through Christ our Lord.”–from the Rite of Christian Initiation, First Scrutiny.
This prayer so powerfully reminds us that our life in community and especially our life in Christ moves us from our ‘vain reliance on self’ and advances us ‘on the way to salvation.’ So today, we pray for those catechumens throughout the world who continue their journey to the Paschal Feast of Easter, yet at the same time we must continue to ask ourselves “What do we seek?” in this season of Lent “vain reliance on self” masked in various Lenten practices or “purity of heart and advance on the way to salvation.” May you have a blessed week!