Life After Death Begins Now

03-26-2023Letter from the PastorFr. Don Kline, V.F.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Lazarus, the one who Jesus loved, has died. Perhaps, you can feel the impact of that death on his sister Martha and those who come to grieve with her. Martha certainly believes in Jesus’ power, but she also believes that the time for that power to help has passed. She says, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Maybe at one time, Jesus could have helped. But now He can no longer do so according to Martha’s understanding of the current situation. But there is so much more to come. You may remember the late Paul Harvey and his unique way of delivering the news. Each broadcast opened the same way; “You know what the news is. In a minute, you're going to hear the REST of the story.”

On this Fifth Sunday of Lent, we hear the amazing story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. It is not a coincidence that our catechumens (now known as the Elect) receive the Third Scrutiny (pre-baptismal exorcism). It contains these wonderful words: "Do not let the power of death hold them back."

Is there anything holding you back or preventing you from becoming a disciple of Our Lord? What keeps you from trusting Our Lord to heal you? Sometimes there are many things. There is a famous country song with the words: “Live like you were dying.” What if the doctor told you that you only had six months to live? What would you do differently?

Would you love more?
Would you give more to charity?
Would you apologize and make amends now?
Would you spend less time chasing the wrong things?
Would you wish you had thought about life's big questions sooner?

In today’s Gospel, Martha makes a strong statement about Jesus absence from her brother’s death. "If you had been here my brother would not have died." Our Lord speaks to her about the future resurrection and then He gives her the great revelation: "I am the resurrection and the life." The point is simple and direct. Our promise of resurrection, our promise of eternal life is 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 an intellectual nod of the head. A real relationship with Our Lord means more than a one-time acceptance. It's a daily immersion in Christ. St. Paul says that if we die with Christ in baptism we will rise with him to new life. Our Lord speaks about eating His Body and drinking His Blood in order to have eternal life. Eternal life is about having a loving, meaning, enduring relationship with Our Lord Jesus.

With the example of Lazarus, I invite you to look at your relationship with Our Lord. Do you invite Him into your home and into your life? Your life now and in eternity will never be the same once you do.

God Bless,

Fr. Don Kline, V.F.