Liturgy of the Word for 5th Sunday of Lent.

Dear Friends,As we have seen, the national and global situation regarding the coronavirus remains critical. We must not lose faith in the goodness of Jesus and his love for us. Our life with him, our eternal life, is already planted within us by grace; we remain firmly in the loving hands of our Lord, and nothing can snatch us out of his hand.

Let us remember the words of Saint Paul, written also during a time of great trial: What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? As it is written: For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.” In all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:35-39).

On this Fifth Sunday of Lent, with a “stone” that seems to come between us and Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, we make an act of faith and spiritual communion, trusting that the power of his grace and mercy reaches us still. We give him our worship and our praise and our gratitude, for his love endures forever.
Click here for the Liturgy of the Word pdf to celebrate at home by yourself or with your family.

Be assured of my prayers for all of you, and please pray for me.

In Jesus and Mary,

Fr. Sebastian, O.P.
Removing the Stones of Fear and Doubt

I turn now to today’s beautiful Gospel [Jn 11:1-45] in which, I think, we find the answers or the beginning of the answers. Yesterday, as is my custom, I went to confession to my regular confessor. He said, “Read carefully today’s Gospel and reflect on it. What strikes you? Jesus weeps. Jesus weeps over all the sufferings and pain in the world, yours and mine.”

Jesus weeps over my sins and yours.… Jesus weeps for others who have been the victims of tragedies. Jesus weeps for those who have been involved in those tragedies. Jesus weeps for all those over whom a cloud seems to settle because of a tragedy….

Then follow through with the Gospel. Before Jesus did anything but weep he asked the sisters of Lazarus, the dead man, Do you believe that I am the resurrection and the life? Do you believe that I am the Light of the world? Do you believe that I can bring the dead to life? Do you believe that those who live in darkness can see the Light because of me? When they said, Yes, Lord, we believe, then Jesus said, Take me to the tomb of Lazarus, where Lazarus had been buried for four days. They warned Jesus that the body would be corrupt. But what did he say? Take away the stone. Only when they took away the stone did Jesus say, Lazarus, come forth, and Lazarus was restored to a new life, greater than any he had dreamed of before…. Our Lord says, Do you want new life? Do you want light in the darkness? Take away the stone.

Only we know if there is a stone before our hearts. Only we, with God’s help, can remove that stone. Then the Lord who suffered and died for everyone in the world will say to each of us, Rise to new life. Be filled with my Light.


John Cardinal O’Connor (+2000) was the Archbishop of New York, a former Navy chaplain, and a great friend to MAGNIFICAT in its first years.

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