The Gospel proclaimed this weekend, may be taken from the 8th Chapter of John and the story of the woman caught in adultery. If you attend the 5:00pm Sunday evening Mass, you will hear the story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. The reason for this change in the First, Second, and Gospel Readings is that our parish has approximately 14 adults who have been accepted by Bishop Vann to be “initiated” into the Catholic Church here at St. Angela’s at the great Easter Vigil. Being “initiated” means these “Elect” will receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. They will be Catholics in every sense of the word; they will become sons and daughters of God and our brothers and sisters in the Lord. Our Catholic family here in Brea is growing! There will be a special time of prayer at this Mass for our Elect.
During the past two years, Andrea Draper and her Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA) team have been walking with these Elect on their journey to becoming fully initiated Catholics. It’s been a journey of discovery of the love and mercy of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It’s been a time of observing how Catholics in our parish, all of us, live our lives. No matter our sinfulness, there is a central goodness and holiness about St. Angela Merici Catholic community and our Elect want to be part of it. Let’s keep them in our prayers, especially during this extraordinary time of preparation for the reception of these wondrous sacraments, these “portal” sacraments that lead them into the life of the Church
There are two special characteristics of this Gospel. The first is seeing the humanness of Jesus as he wept as he approached the tomb of Lazarus. Even as Jesus was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, he still experienced the pain of the loss of his very close friend and the pain of Martha, Mary, and his other friends. The second is seeing an example of the simple yet very honest prayer of Martha, she is a woman of strength who no doubt let Jesus know he was late and Lazarus could have been alive had Jesus come in time. Jesus asked her if she believed in him, and she responds she does. At some point in this Gospel, Martha had to accept whatever Jesus did just as we have to accept how Jesus answers our prayers, whether the answer is in the positive or in the negative.
Martha made her plea to Jesus with all her power and strength. She made her act of faith and put the life of her brother in Jesus’ hands. I’m sure she did this over and over again. As we come to the end of our Lenten journey and prayerfully experience in one way or another the Resurrection, perhaps we can, along with Martha, be firm in our prayers, confident in our faith, and place our needs in the hands of our loving God, no matter what. One last request; as we share in the suffering, death, and resurrection of our brother and Lord Jesus, let’s bring to prayer all those people in our community who have experienced injustice, just as Jesus did. Whether through a violent act, abuse, or homelessness, it is our call from Jesus to minister to those on the fringes of society whether they have experienced injustice or perpetrated the injustice to someone else. We have several individuals in our parish who dedicate themselves to working with these people through various agencies under the umbrella of Restorative Justice. Helping restore justice to victims as well as to those who have been punished and have served their time in jail is the aim of those working in Restorative Justice. You and I will be hearing more about this ministry in the coming months; until then, let’s keep all of them in our prayers.
May we keep our eyes on the Cross!