5th Week of Lent, Saturday

In today’s First Reading the Lord promises to gather together all of his people into one land, as one nation, in peace and security, under the rule of “David”: the Messiah. His people had been divided politically into the Northern and Southern Kingdoms, exiled, and dispersed throughout the world in what became know as the diaspora. He promises them not only a political reunification, but a purification as well: sin was the cause of their woes, and sin had to be conquered for them to become a nation at peace, with no enmity between them and God, their fellow man, and their very selves.

In today’s Gospel the chief priests and Pharisees received news of the greatest sign worked yet by Our Lord: raising Lazarus from the dead. However, their interpretation of events was far from God’s; they saw Our Lord as threatening the unstable security the nation had under the Romans, and were convinced that Our Lord, whom they thought was a false Messiah seeking to become a king, would bring the destruction of the Romans down upon their heads. Therefore the high priest decided it was time for Our Lord to go, for the good of the nation. As John recalls these deliberations he also sees that the death of Jesus, a despicable act, in fact would lead to the good of the nation, but a good far beyond the conceited political aspirations of those seeking his death for worldly reasons. The chief priests and Pharisees had no idea what good God would make come out of their evil.

Through Our Lord’s death the words in today’s First Reading will be fulfilled. The stage is set for tomorrow’s celebration of Our Lord’s Passion and the beginning of Holy Week. Let’s renew our Lenten resolutions and prepare ourselves for the final push from suffering and death into eternal life.

Readings: Ezekiel 37:21–28; Jeremiah 31:10–13; John 11:45–56.