Homily For The 5th Sunday Of Lent, Year A

What if God Comes Late?

Readings: Ez 7:12-14; Ps 129; 2nd: Rom 8:8-11; Gos: Jn 11:1-45

This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, or canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.


At times, Christ acts weird! What If God Comes Late? Today, “When he heard that Lazarus, his friend, was ill, he remained for two days in the place where he was.” So, was Mary not justified to be angry? Was Marth not right to blame Christ? “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Indeed, this is a normal human reaction to disappointment, misfortune, and distress. It comes from a truly broken heart. It is a genuine search for answers to the “whys” of life. It is a search in the right place and from the right person, the All-powerful God and Creator of all things.

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In today’s quick, fast, and time-conscious world, Christ will have no job. He will be tagged as lazy and accused of negligence, irresponsibility, insensitivity, and un charitable. Even though he had no connection with the cause of the patient’s death, the blame for the death of many will be heaped on him. Of course, a duly constituted state or federal panel of inquiry will quiz him for many hours to indict him for negligence.

Once, a friend lamented bitterly about how the negligence of doctors and nurses caused her sister’s death. After sympathizing with her for her loss, I asked her, “How old was your sister? “85,” she responded. How long was she sick? “Umm…about eight years. She always had seizures and often ended up in the hospital. This last one was terrible.” With tears in her eyes, she added, “But the doctors and nurses did not act fast as before.”

Afterward, I consoled her, “Oh, that is a pity.” Perhaps, it was her time to go and rest. Maybe the pain was too much for her system this time. Maybe, she was already too weak before she reached the hospital, and there was not much the doctors and nurses could do to help her.” Then, I gently asked her, “Do you think these are possibilities?” She paused, smiled, and responded, “Yes, Father. Honestly, I have never thought of it this way.”

Dear brothers and sisters, sometimes, our loss could be so devastating and traumatic that we lose the capacity to see the other side of reality. It can be strong that someone other than us must be held responsible. Sometimes, it makes us lash out even at those who help us. Indeed, the grief and trauma of my friend because sister’s deaths well as that of Mary and Martha at the death of their brother, Lazarus were genuine.

However, the same grief and trauma made it difficult for them to see the other perspective and reality of Christ as the Savior, the Resurrection, and Life. However, Christ helped them to see this by calming their nerves and pain. He attended to them, healed their broken hearts, restored their faith, and prepared them for the miracle of their life.

Dear brethren, has God come late to your rescue? Do not lose hope. He sees you. Dead or alive, Jesus loves you as he loved Lazarus and will surely be there when we least expect him. Is your heart broken for what and whom you have lost? God knows what that means to you. Do you seek answers to your whys? Take a break from your grief, pause as my friend did, and let God speak because he has a message for your broken heart and traumatized body.

Yes, God knows, sees, and will surely come. God is never late. Even if God comes late by our human reckoning, He will make all things new. If we believe like Martha, He will heal our brokenness and raise us by the power of the Holy Spirit as he raised Lazarus today.

Peace be with you!



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