March 26 – Fifth Sunday of Lent

When discussing our Catholic faith with one of my friends, he’ll usually respond, “Wow, you actually believe this?”  He says it in jest and sarcasm, as he too is a practicing Catholic.  The statement is more to point out where we are in our society when it comes to understanding and living out our faith, as it seems to go against our cultural norms.

Over the last 4 and half weeks of Lent, I have been going to various parishes, schools, and homes to bring people the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and that doesn’t include the increased hours of the Sacrament Reconciliation this coming week from 7-8:30PM, Monday through Friday, March 27th-31st offered at our parish. 

The Sacrament is a beautiful gift Jesus gave the Church (Jn 20:21-23; 2 Cor 5:11-21), and I’ve seen the power of the Sacrament through my own vocation.  Fr. James has preached on the precept of the Church that a Catholic is required to go to confession at least once a year.  One can respond, like my friend, “You actually believe this?” Of course my answer is “Yes” and our Gospel this weekend continues to reveal it.

There are many beautiful insights with the story of raising Lazarus, but I’ll point to one in particular.  Death was a result of sin, so when Jesus says to the people as Lazarus comes out of the tomb, “Unbind him and let him go,” Jesus is revealing his authority to free people not only from death, but sin as well.  Jesus desires to do the same in our lives.  He desires to call us from death to new life; He desires to free us from sin that binds us.  Let us take advantage of this gift the Lord has given us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Father Michael