Best Lent Ever Week 5: If You Died Today

(Homily for Fifth Sunday of Lent Year A)

Message: Invite Jesus into your home, your life. If you and I were to die today, that's the one thing that would matter.

Today we celebrate the fifth and final Sunday before Holy Week. We still have two weeks to make this the Best Lent Ever. Here's the question: If you died today, what would you wish you had done differently?

In Resisting Happiness, Matthew Kelly observes, "If you went to the doctor and she told you...'You only have six months to live,' you would live the next six months very differently than you were planning." He adds, "Most people get no warning. They are alive one minute and dead the next."

As we listen today about the death of Lazarus, it's good to ask what you and I would do differently in light of our own inevitable death. Matthew Kelly interviewed hospice nurses concerning what dying people talk about. He lists 24 things they say they would have done differently. I'll let you read them all, but three stood out:

I wish I had loved more.
I wish I hadn't spent so much time chasing the wrong things.
I wish I had thought about life's big questions earlier.

Today Martha asks a tough question. In grief over her brother's death she asks about Jesus' absence. "If you had been here my brother would not have died." Jesus speaks to her about the future resurrection. For Martha that seems distant. Jesus then gives her the great revelation: "I am the resurrection and the life."

In other words: resurrection, eternal life is nothing more - and nothing less - than a relationship with Jesus. That relationship begins here and continues in heaven.

To believe in Jesus, to have a relationship with him, means more than intellectual assent - and it means more than a one-time acceptance. It's an immersion in Christ. St. Paul says that if we die with Christ in baptism we will rise with him to new life. (Rm 6:3ff) Jesus for his part speaks about eating his body and drinking his blood in order to have eternal life. (Jn 6:53-54)

Take note of Jesus' relationship with Lazarus: He stays in Lazarus' home. He loves him and his two sisters. He refers to Lazarus as "our friend." Standing before Lazarus' tomb Jesus weeps. "See how he loved him," the people say. And Jesus says, "Lazarus, come out!"

With the example of Lazarus I invite you to put into practice what we've been talking about this Lent: A time of silence - ten minutes, maybe more, maybe less - a daily relationship with Jesus. Invite him into your home, your life. If you and I were to die today, that's the one thing that would matter. Jesus says, "I am the resurrection and the life." Amen.


Spanish Version

From Archives (Year A Homilies for Fifth Sunday of Lent):

Prayer and Spiritual Combat Week 5 (2014)
Revive (2011)
Overcoming Power of Death (2008)
Joining Body with Soul (2005)
He Was Buried (2002)
On Confession and Cremation (1999)

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Sunday Homilies

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.

Bishop Bob Barron's Homilies

Fr. Brad's Homilies

Fr. Jim's Homilies

Fr. Michael White's Homilies ("messages")

Parish Picture Album

St. Mary of the Valley bulletin

MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru