Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Whatever You Ask

I was remiss Sunday in doing my usual post related to the Mass readings.

For the Fifth Sunday of Lent, I attended the Closing Mass of the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress at the Anaheim Convention Center. The arena was packed so, along with some others, I sat on the floor in Section 308.

This tremendous Mass of many languages and vibrant music was celebrated by Bishop Gabino Zavala. He was joined by ten other bishops (including two from Eastern Catholic rites) and a legion of priests and deacons.

The Gospel passage proclaimed at the Mass was the account from John Chapter 11 of the raising of Lazarus of Bethany from the dead. The passage contains the famous short verse:

And Jesus wept.

I think the account is also notable for its record of the strong words with which Martha, Lazarus' sister, addresses Jesus:

Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. (But) even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you."

It's an accusation, a statement of faith and a prayer -- from the mouth of a woman. Like the words of the Samaritan woman at the well, is this something an ancient propagandist would have recorded?

Here is a clip from the Closing Mass that includes most of Bishop Zavala's homily:

Flashbacks: Fifth Sundays of Lent 2009, 2008 and 2007.

The image above is "Jesus Wept" or "J├ęsus pleura" by James Tissot from the collection of the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

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