Vespers Preaching, 5th Sunday of Lent

Br. Dominic David Maichrowicz, O.P.'s picture
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Homily for First Vespers of the 5th Sunday of Lent

 Ez 37:12-14:

Thus says the Lord GOD: O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them, and bring you back to the

land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and have you rise from them, O my people! I will put my spirit in you that you may live, and I will settle you upon your land; thus you shall know that I am the LORD. I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.

We were not meant to die. We were not meant to have our soul separated from our body. They were made for each other, radically incomplete without each other. But with the fall, sin entered the world and because of sin, death.

 

Unfortunately, when we consider death, we often only consider it in its finality: that cessation of vital functions, the decay of that which is no longer properly called a body, the mystery of what happens to the immaterial soul.

 

But death is something much more pervasive in our lives: there are many terrible ways we can die while we still live. We may find ourselves dead at any point in this Dominican life – dead to our vocation of study, dead to the work and the joy of prayer. Dead to the community, dead in our ministry. We can find ourselves in coffins of addiction, of acedia and envy, of anger, self-importance, or worst of all despair.

 

But, Thus says the Lord, O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them. The promise is not only to the resurrection in the age to come – but to the resurrection of our lives here and now. It is not only in the graves of Benicia [where all Dominicans of the Western Province are buried] that we hear this promise, it is in the graves of our choir stalls, the graves of our cell, of our communities – wherever it is we find ourselves, (or more likely) wherever we have made ourselves bound and dead, he stands and weeps, he cries out to us, he begs and promises, I will put my spirit in you that you may live.

 

He has promised, and he will do it. Yet he will do it through the mystery of the cross. Christ has taken the wood of his execution and made it the means of salvation. He has taken that which was the symbol of death and turned it into a symbol of life and resurrection. And as he has done with his own death and will do with ours on the last day, so also will he do in our lives now. The very crosses I bear will be turned into the means of my salvation. Those places I find myself bound will be the places in which I am given new life.

 

And thus I shall know that he is the Lord.

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