Fifth Sunday of Lent [a]

Engaging Faith | Mon, Apr 4, 2011

By John Bucki, S.J.

Fifth Sunday of Lent [a]

April 10, 2011



Ezekiel 37:12-14

Romans 8:8-11

John 11:1-45



April 11: Pope John XXXII issues Pacem in Terris in 1963

April 11: President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act in 1964

April 15: Income Tax Day in the USA

April 17: Palm Sunday





"Whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, or willful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where people are treated as mere instruments of gain rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others like them are infamies indeed. They poison human society, and they do more harm to those who practice them than to those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are a supreme dishonor to the Creator".

Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, #27


There is a growing awareness of the sublime dignity of human persons, who stand above all things and whose rights and duties are universal and inviolable. They ought, therefore, to have ready access to all that is necessary for living a genuinely human life: for example, food, clothing, housing ... the right to education, and work...

Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, #26


Life, especially human life, belongs to God; whoever attacks human life attacks God's very self.

John Paul II, The Gospel of Life (Donders translation), #9



The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus' message. Lovingly received day after day by the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as "good news" to the people of every age and culture.

John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, #1


Thoughts for your consideration


As Jesus approaches the tomb of his friend Lazarus, we are told, “Jesus wept.” 


Today we have so many deaths to weep over:

      deaths from the ongoing fighting in Afghanistan

      deaths from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan

      deaths in the fighting in Libya

      deaths from acts of terrorism,

      deaths from ethnic and racial fighting in countless places,

      deaths in countless wars,

      deaths of those without adequate medical care,

      deaths of children who do not get adequate nutrition,

      deaths from the use of the death penalty,

      deaths of people who die alone and feel unloved,

      deaths from substance abuse,

      deaths in industrial accidents.


Jesus says to Martha:  “I am the resurrection and the life.”  Our contemporary world needs a God that will address all this “death” with a vision of resurrection and life: 

      a vision of reconciliation and nonviolence,

      a vision of a “consistent ethic of life” like a “seamless garment”

      a vision of a world of justice for all where the life of every human person is treated with dignity and respect,

      a vision that does not forget those on the margins,

      a vision that respects human rights,

      a vision that does not forget women and children,

      a vision that promotes life before money and power and pride.


Jesus says: “Lazarus, come out.” Jesus says to those around him: “Untie him and let him go.”  Our contemporary world needs a confident voice that will invite us out of our tombs and into freedom – freedom from the culture of violence, death, racism, discrimination, debt, revenge, and blindness – freedom to respond to the needs of others and let go of everything that keeps us from being fully alive.



Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

When have you wept in the face of death? 

When have you wept over the experience of death and suffering in the world beyond the circle of your family and friends?


Actions - Links



Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the retired archbishop of Washington, spoke at a recent conference on immigration reform. Read about his comments at

The Fair Immigration Reform Movement is bringing people together on immigration issues and encouraging action.  Get info and sign the petition at


Women and Children

“The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster.”

Their current “wake up” effort is dealing with issues of women and children around the world. They report that “One in three women will be abused or raped in her lifetime.” Find out more and take action online at



“Crazy Facts”


The following is from:


“The national Basic Economic Security Tables TM (BEST) Index, developed by Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW), a national organization that works to achieve economic independence for women and their families, finds that single workers need $30,012 a year – nearly twice the federal minimum wage – to cover basic expenses. Single-parents require nearly twice the income ($57,756) to support two children, while dual-income households with children require $67,920.” 


“Fewer than 13% of jobs the US Department of Labor expects to be created by 2018 are likely to provide economic security to a single parent raising two or more children. A small majority of new jobs are expected to pay economic security wages for single workers without children, and approximately 43% of the new jobs will pay economic security wages for two workers raising two young children.”


Read the complete report at



Prayers of Intercession


Response: God, give us resurrection and new life.

For all who have died from war, terrorism and other forms of violence, we pray….’

For all those who have died from or been injured in natural disasters, we pray….

For all those who are dying from a lack of food, or good water, or proper medical care, we pray…

For our environment which has been stressed and even killed by our abuse and overuse, we pray….

For all those who are on death row, we pray….

For all those who live in fear of violence, we pray…..

For all those who are bound up by unjust political and economic systems, we pray….;

For all those who are imprisoned, we pray…..



Prayer - Meditation


Peace is possible, peace is a duty,

peace is a prime responsibility of everyone!


May the dawn of the third millennium see the coming

of a new era in which respect for every man and woman

and fraternal solidarity among peoples

will, with God’s help, overcome

the culture of hatred, of violence, of death.


John Paul II, "URBI ET ORBI" Message Easter, 1999




A Prayer for World Peace by Jane Goodall can be found at


We pray for these things with humility;

We pray because of the hope that is within us,

and because of a faith in the ultimate triumph of the human spirit;

We pray because of our love for Creation, and because of our trust in God.

We pray, above all, for peace throughout the world.



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