5th Sunday for Grown-Ups

Begin with a few moments of quiet.

The intention is to open yourself to the presence of God within you and among those gathered.

Invite all present to sit comfortably.
When sitting comfortably, take three deep breaths, as you breathe in feel your lungs filling all the way up, when they are full slowly release your breath and feel your lungs emptying out fully. Repeat this three times.
Now return to breathing normally and make the sign of the cross:

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Invite each person present to take a few moments to reflect on:
Where in the past week did I encounter God in my life?
Where in the past week did I inhibit God in my life?

Allow time in quiet for this and then, after a few moments, invite those present to share on this, if they are comfortable to do so.
If you like to have some quiet music playing during this, click here. and return when you are ready.

Introduce the Gospel

There are many  “I am” sentences throughout John’s Gospel (eg “I am the bread of life”; “I am the Good Shepherd”; “I am the true vine”) which  remind us that we believe first of all in a person, not in a philosophy.  Today’s Gospel takes us deeply into our encounter with the Risen Lord: “I am the resurrection and the life.”

This moving drama on the raising of Lazarus explores in a very human way the strength, depth and meaning of God’s love for all of us.  Jesus is profoundly moved by the appeals of Martha and Mary.  In His own distress He wept for Lazarus.   He calls Lazarus back to life as an expression of love for him.

Jesus came into the world to offer us the supreme gesture of God’s love towards humanity, through His cross and resurrection.  We see compassion, hope and new life in this reading.  There are important links with the resurrection of Jesus: Lazarus needs to be unbound, and he will die again in human terms.  But the Risen Jesus no longer needs unbinding; he has passed from death to life.  In him, God reaches out to each one of us, showing us his “tender mercy”, and assuring us of the future resurrection of all the dead.

Read the GospelJohn, 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33b-45
Read the Gospel aloud, even if you are on your own.

The sisters sent this message to Jesus, “Lord, the man you love is ill.”  On receiving the message, Jesus said, “This sickness will end not in death but in God’s glory, and through it the Son of God will be glorified.”

Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, yet when he heard that Lazarus was ill he stayed where he was for two more days before saying to the disciples, “Let us go to Judaea.”

On arriving, Jesus found that Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days already.  When Martha heard that Jesus had come she went to meet him.  Mary remained sitting in the house.  Martha said to Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died, but I know that, even now, whatever you ask of God, he will grant you.”  “Your brother”, said Jesus to her, “will rise again.”  Martha said, “I know he will rise again at the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.  If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?”  “Yes, Lord,” she said, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world.”

Jesus said in great distress, with a sigh that came straight from the heart, “Where have you put him?”  They said, “Lord, come and see.”  Jesus wept; and the Jews said, “See how much he loved him!”  But there were some who remarked, “He opened the eyes of the blind man, could he not have prevented this man’s death?”  Still sighing, Jesus reached the tomb: it was a cave with a stone close to the opening.  Jesus said, “Take the stone away.”  Martha said to him, “Lord, by now he will smell; this is the fourth day.”  Jesus replied, “Have I not told you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?”  So they took away the stone.  Then Jesus lifted up his eyes and said: “Father, I thank you for hearing my prayer.  I knew indeed that you always hear me, but I speak for the sake of all these who stand around me, so that they may believe it was you who sent me.”  When he had said this, he cried in a loud voice, “Lazarus, here!  Come out!”  The dead man came out, his feet and hands bound with bands of stuff and a cloth around his face.  Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, let him go free.”

Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what he did believed in him.

Reflect on the Gospel

Take some time now to reflect on what you have read.
There are many approaches to this. Over the coming weeks, we will offer some different approachs. Use a method you are used to or use the one we offer.

Sit quietly now for a few moments and allow the images created by hearing the Gospel to emerge. Allow yourself to dwell on the gentleness, love and human understanding shown by Jesus. Use the quietening music again if you wish, click here. and return when you are ready

When you are ready, read one or more of the following reflections, and let it lead you into prayer.

  • Martha and Mary are both people of faith, but Jesus led them to an even deeper faith.  His words to Martha: “do you believe this?” allow you, too, to reaffirm your faith.  You can also remember and give thanks for the people in your life who led you to a deeper faith in Jesus.
  • Martha and Mary were struggling to come to terms with their bereavement.  What has helped you in similar circumstances?  Savour the insight in this reading into the power of faith over death.
  • The concern of Jesus for his friends is palpable and touching.  Think of those who matter to you and to whom you matter.  The love you share mediates God’s love for each one of us, which surpasses human love with the gift of new life and Easter joy.
  • Lazarus needed others to take the stone away, and to unbind him when he emerged from the tomb, brought back by faith.  Reflect on how far you can go in trusting the power of Jesus’ love for you, and how far you can go in helping those around you to revive their faith, roll back the stone, and be free from things that are destructive of their lives.

Finish this part with a Prayer

Jesus, present to us always, you wept at the tomb of our friend Lazarus.  As we face the mystery of death, our own and that of those we love, help us to place our trust in you, the resurrection and the life. Amen.

Prayer of the Faithful

In the Mass, the prayer of the faithful are the people’s response to their reflection on the Scripture readings. The following have been prepared by parishioners for our Masses on this weekend.

We open our prayer by addressing God directly: The man born blind courageously sticks to what he knows from his personal encounter with Jesus and this leads him to his act of faith.  We turn to You in prayer for our world and ourselves, in a trust coming from our experience of You in our lives:

For the Church
That you, O Lord, who are the resurrection and the life, will guide our steps in these difficult times. – pause –           
Lord hear us

For those who are sick
That they may be enlightened by Your Holy Spirit giving them the courage to accept their illness, and the strength to make a good recovery. -pause –
Lord hear us

For those who are bereaved
That they may believe and take comfort from the words of Jesus ‘he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.’ -pause-
Lord hear us

For those who are working on our behalf; those in authority, the health and ambulance workers, the Garda, the defence forces, cleaning staff, those who collect our waste, those who work in our shops.  pause –
That your Spirit may live in them , O Lord, and help us to treat them with the respect and consideration which is their due.
Lord hear us

For ourselves -pause- 
At this time when normal life is disrupted, help us to accept that money can be a force for good.   Help us to remember to contribute to the Church, to organisations that help those in need both here in this Parish and throughout the world, such as the Society of St. Vincent De Paul, or Trocaire.
Lord Hear us

For your own intentions: name those intentions you specifically want to mention Lord hear us

For all who have died  ………. name those people you specifically want to remember Lord hear us

Jesus, present to us always, you wept at the tomb of your friend Lazarus.
As we face the mystery of death, our own and that of those we love, help us to place our trust in you, the resurrection and the life. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen

Close the time of Prayer with the Our Father

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that, by the help of your mercy,
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Use the quietening music one more time, if you wish to bring your prayer time to a close, click here.

Additional Resources

Fr. Denis McCabe offers a 20 minute reflection on the Gospel – Click Here

Fr. Kieran O’Mahony offers a scriptural analysis on the Gospel – Click Here