Fifth Sunday of Lent

Ez 37:12-14; Rom 8: 8-11; Jn 11:1-45 (year a)

 ‘I am going now to open your graves, my people, and lead you back to the soil of Israel. And I shall put my spirit in you, and you will live.” These words, spoken by the prophet Ezekiel, were addressed to Israel’s broken exiles. Their lives had ended with the destruction of their homeland. They had become as those living in the grave, whose bones had dried, whose hope was gone.

Lent summons us to the repentance that acknowledges that when we sin something dies within us. Love dies. We become strangers to God, to each other, and even to ourselves. Such is the death of sin. Sinful choices become the tomb that holds us captive.

Ezekiel’s vision of a valley of dry bones, called to life by the breath of God, was spoken to a people who felt themselves abandoned by God and beyond hope. They are spoken to every sinner who feels that the past has put him, or her, beyond the reach of God’s healing love.

St Paul spoke words of hope to the inner death that sin brings. “Though your body may be dead it is because of sin, but if Christ is in you, then your spirit is life itself.” This is the hope that leads us from sin and to the life of Easter.

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