Ezekiel 37:21-28
John 11: 45-56


Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, when the church commemorates Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. It is a day filled with much contradiction and irony.  The Gospel of John in today’s readings continues the narrative where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. John described the scene: “Many had seen and come to believe in Jesus.” This mind-blowing miracle frightened the religious leaders, intimidated by Jesus’ growing popularity. Albert Einstein said: “What is right is not always popular, and what is popular is not always right.” In this case, it is the opposite because Jesus did more than what is right, it is life! Looking back to the miracles Jesus did: Water Into Wine, Healing the Official’s Son, Healing at the Pool of Bethesda, Feeding the 5000, Walking on the Water, Healing The Man Born Blind, and raising Lazarus is the seventh miracle that John reported to us that made Jesus immensely popular.

I once worked in a Parish where I witnessed the impact of a young “popular priest.” Before his arrival, the last mass in the evening had fewer attendees compared to the other masses. But when he became a member of that community and was rostered to that last mass, non-regular mass attendees and people from neighboring parishes started attending his mass. As a result, the church became overcrowded, and people had to stand outside, even spilling onto the street. This caused complaints from neighboring parishes, leading to the priest’s transfer to another parish. Eventually, he was assigned by his provincial to a mission station where his presence would be less visible. However, people continued to seek him out and attend his sermons wherever he could be heard. Unfortunately, he died at an early age. Unlike the priest mentioned above, Jesus not only gave sermons but also performed miracles. Although many people started believing in Him, not everyone was convinced. The story of the raising of Lazarus was met with rejection by religious authorities who were frightened for the reason highlighted in verse 48: If we let him go on in this way, everybody will believe in him, and the Romans will come and suppress the Holy Place and our nation. They were alarmed not because they did not see the truth about Jesus’s actions but because it threatened their status quo.  

When we choose to believe in and follow Jesus ‘life, we expect that the status quo will be challenged, or as Fr. Giltus, CP, simply termed “business as usual,” will turn upside down or overturn to bring a new beginning. As Holy Week begins, let us pause momentarily and ask what keeps us from believing in Jesus or allowing God to lead our lives. Is it fear? Doubt? Status in life we live? Business as usual? As St. John Paul II said: Non abbiate paura! Aprite, anzi, spalancate le porte a Cristo!

Sr Rosana Estoque CP is a Passionist Religious, and the Pastoral Associate at St.Brtigid’s Chruch, Marrickville.

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