Vol: 44, No.21 5TH SUNDAY OF LENT ( A) April 02 2017  

A businessman from England, named James Stevens, came to Kolkata in 1968 and decided to give up his comfortable existence back in home country, and dedicate his life for the rehabilitation of leprosy patients’ children from the slums in and around the city. One day in 1970 he travelled into the slums of the City in a bus loaned from Mother Teresa. He got eleven children whose parents were leprosy patients, and with these he began a house named ‘Udayan’, meaning ‘Rising’. Today it is home to hundreds of children who are provided with a better life. The children are given a new lease of life, free from the scourge of leprosy and its associated poverty. It is really a resurrection in their life. In fact James Stevens is not the only one who causes such ‘risings’ in the life of the poor. By now we are familiar with similar happenings as part of Church’s mission among the poor.
In today’s first reading Prophet Ezekiel, who lived during the period of the exile of the Israelites in Babylon, consoles the people with the hope of a future restoration of the lost land and temple and regaining of freedom by using the symbolism of ‘resurrection’. He first describes a vision he had of a valley of ‘dry bones’. These bones eventually put on flesh and skin and then get back the breath of life. In fact the people would go back to their homeland after a few years to resettle themselves and rebuild the temple. Long fifty years of life in captivity would finally give way to a ‘resurrection’ in their life.
The Gospel episode describing the resuscitation of Lazarus on this Sunday close to the celebration of Easter, tells us who the author of life is and how resurrection could be a reality. As a matter of fact Jesus had caused ‘risings’ in the lives of the people by healing them of their physical illnesses and disabilities and in many cases socially rehabilitating them. Zacchaeus and Matthew who were tax collectors and the woman caught


in adultery definitely felt being accepted in the society as the result of intervention by Jesus. Bringing back to life the dead son of the widow at Nain (Lk 7:11-17) is not just a miraculous restoration of life to the young man but a gift of rising in the life of the poor widow. The case of resuscitation of Lazarus is similar. Lazarus, the only breadwinner of the family, goes back to his home and to his sisters to resume his life.
Let us get to another level of ‘rising’ in life which happens due to our faith. “Do you believe I can do this?”, asks Jesus to the one who comes to ask for healing. How many people’s lives have been changed for the better, from the time of Jesus to this day, because they believed! Martha expressed her conviction that had Jesus been there her brother would not have died! However Jesus still demanded that Martha should state her faith in Jesus as the one who raises and gives life. Faith in the author of life is a prerequisite for risings in our life and eventual resurrection after death. St. Paul is convinced that it is the Spirit of God dwelling in us who causes our resurrection.
Dear brothers and sisters, while we wait with faith and hope for our own resurrection to eternal life, let us also think of the ‘risings’ that we can bring about in our own life and in the life of others. Does our own spiritual life need a lease of new life? If so it can be done by means of nourishing it with the participation in the sacramental life of the Church. We could think of our family life and many other spheres of life which need change for the better. Let us not also forget that we could be agents of ‘risings’ in the life of the poor around us. Jesus was one such agent; many follow him today with dedication and commitment. Let us be proud of belonging to a religion which has caused resurrection of various kinds in the life of the people.

– Bp (Dr) Simon Kaipuram, C.M.
April 2017 READINGS OF THE WEEK Psalter Week 1
03 Mon (V) Dan 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62/ Ps 23:1-6/ Jn 8:1-11
04 Tue (V) St Isidore of Seville Num 21:4-9/ Ps 102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21/ Jn 8:21-30
05 Wed (V) St Vincent Ferrer Dan 3:14-20, 91-92, 95/ Dan 3:52-56/ Jn 8:31-42
06 Thu (V) Gen 17:3-9/ Ps 105:4-9/ Jn 8:51-59
07 Fri (V) St John Baptist de la Salle Jer 20:10-13/ Ps 18:2-7/ Jn 10:31-42
08 Sat (V) Ezek 37:21-28/ Jer 31:10-13/ Jn 11:45-56
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