- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

Homily for Saturday March 27, 2021 – The 5th Week of Lent

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO

March 27, 2021 – Saturday The 5th Week of Lent

(Exekiel 37: 21- 28; Ps:Jer 31; John 11: 45 – 56)

The crowd saw the miracle; some began to believe while others ran off to report seeing Lazarus raised to life. Like a bunch of tale bearers, they could not wait to report to the leaders as if Jesus had done an evil deed. Although they too had seen a miracle, incredibly they were not led to belief; on the contrary, Jesus had to be silenced, have Him killed so life could go on – no ripples, no challenges, just the good old status quo. Let the dead stay dead!

So Jesus distanced Himself because His time had not yet come. But whether they believed in Him or not, His presence could not be ignored; people had experienced His power. So they looked for Him “Will He not come down to the feast?” Perhaps, what some wanted was a showdown between the leaders and Jesus – what has been called “Let’s you and him fight” – we’ll watch and enjoy.

But Jesus was never given to showdowns like Moses and Pharoah; Jesus was totally above competition, into who gets the upper hand; in His own words “I have come to call sinners.” And this was His power – not of domination, not of control, rather of surrender; in great love, Jesus surrendered Himself in forgiving, in healing, in raising the dead. Some were attracted and some were repelled – “It is an awesome thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Who would think of God as the God who surrenders?

How often in our lives has the Lord surrendered Himself to you/me in love? More than that, how often in a day does the Lord surrender Himself to us in love? No act of faith, of hope, of charity, is possible without this love that yields Himself to us. When the Sacred Host is placed in our hand, the Lord surrenders Himself to us despite our sinfulness, our weaknesses, our failures. Throughout the reading from Ezekiel, the merciful surrender of God thunders: “I will deliver…I will make a covenant…I will multiply them…I will be their God.” And to all this Jesus said, “I AM.” So loved, we can say, “I have come to believe!”