Christ Restores Us Through The Holy Spirit
Readings: Ez 7:12-14; Ps 129; 2nd: Rom 8:8-11; Gos: Jn 11:1-45)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today is the fifth Sunday of Lent. The Church reminds us that what gives life to our mortal body is the Spirit of God. The same Spirit will resurrect Christ on Easter day. He is the one that makes a difference in the life of every child of God. Hence, as we prepare for the Paschal Feast, we must be docile to the Spirit of God that gives us life.
The first reading is from the book of prophet Ezekiel. He is often remembered as a reminder of Lent. He announced a promising future for his ruined people. It was a promise that God made to Israel while she was in exile. Today, this promise is still valid for us through Christ our Lord. It is a promise of the regeneration and restoration of our lives weakened by sin, sickness, and the difficulties of this life.
It suffices to note that though one might live in one’s country yet, one could still be far from God. This type of separation from God, is a “spiritual exile or death” It is only the Spirit of God that can deliver one from such an exile or death. Hence, God promise’s us today is: “…I shall put my spirit in you, and you will live, and I shall resettle you on your own soil…”
In the second reading, Paul also reminds us that it is only the Spirit of Jesus that can restore us to life: “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you…he will give life to your mortal bodies…” In order words, without the Spirit of God one is as good as dead. This is because Christ himself tells us that: “What gives life is the Spirit of God, the flesh profits nothing” (Jn 6, 63).
This was evident in the life of Saul, the former king of Israel. Immediately the Spirit of God left him, he became miserable and mischievous (I Sam 16: 14-16). Therefore, the Spirit of God is the evidence of God’s activity and life in us. Hence, Paul warns us: “…Do not grief the Holy Spirit of God who is God’s mark of ownership of you…” (Eph 4, 30). This is very important because he is the one that guides and sustains us.
The gospel of this Sunday presents us with Jesus’ demonstration of power. By raising Lazarus for death, Christ proved that he is really, the resurrection and life. He could not have achieved this without the power of the Holy Spirit. Regeneration, resurrection and restoration are all possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. All we need to do is, humble ourselves, and allow him to use us.
There are a few lessons we must learn from today’s gospel. First, this miracle is an expression of love. We were told that when the message came to Jesus: “The man you love is ill.” Jesus went because of the love he had for Lazarus and his family. Just as their joy was his joy, also, their sorrow became his sorrow. So, “Jesus wept!”
Second, our faith is very important in the working of any miracle for us. Christ asked Mary and Martha: “I am the resurrection and the life…Do you believe in this…?” So, in order to resurrect Lazarus, the love of Christ and the faith of his sisters brought down the power of the Holy Spirit. Hence, the third lesson is that with Christ, and through power of the Holy Spirit everything is Possible. This is because, Jesus has authority over life and death.
Finally, Jesus is ever willing to help us no matter what it will cost him. It does not matter how long we have been spiritually dead or exiled. He knows us, loves, and calls us by our names as he called Lazarus: “! Come out!” If we hear and obey his voice, then he will restore life to our weak and mortal bodies through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Peace be with you all!