FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT
Pope Francis: “There is no other limit to the Divine Mercy offered to all!”
2014-04-06 Vatican Radio
The Gospel of this fifth Sunday of Lent tells of the resurrection of Lazarus. It is the culmination of the wonderful “signs” performed by Jesus: an act too great, too clearly divine to be tolerated by the high priests, who, aware of the fact, make the decision to kill Jesus (cf. Jn 11:53).
Lazarus had already been dead for three days when Jesus arrived; and to the sisters Martha and Mary, Jesus spoke the words which are forever impressed upon the memory of the Christian community. Jesus said this: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die” (Jn 11:25). On this Word of the Lord we believe that the life of one who believes in Jesus and follows His commandments, after death will be transformed in a new life, full and immortal. As Jesus rose with His own body, but did not return to an earthly life, so we will rise with our bodies that will be transfigured into glorious bodies. He waits for us next to the Father, and the strength of the Holy Spirit, Who raised Him, will also raise those who are united to Him.
Before the sealed tomb of His friend Lazarus, Jesus “cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth” (vv. 43-44). This peremptory cry is addressed to every human person, because we are all marked by death, all of us; it is the voice of One Who is the master of life, one who will all “should have [life] more abundantly” (Jn 10:10). Christ is not resigned to the sepulchres that we have constructed with our choices of evil and death, with our mistakes, with our sins. He is not resigned to this! He invites us, almost orders us, to come out from the tombs into which our sins have plunged us. He calls us insistently to come out of the darkness of the prison in which we are enclosed, contenting ourselves with a false, selfish, mediocre life. “Come forth!” He says. “Come forth!” It is a beautiful invitation to true freedom, to allow us to grab onto these words of Jesus that
He repeats to each one of us today, an invitation that allows us to free ourselves from the “bands,” from the bands of pride. Because pride makes us slaves, slaves of ourselves, slaves of so many idols, slaves of so many things. Our resurrection begins here: when we decide to obey the commands of Jesus to come into the light, to life; when the masks fall from our faces — so many times we are masked by sin: the masks must fall! — and we rediscover the courage of our original faces, created in the image and likeness of God.
The act of Jesus by which He raised Lazarus demonstrates the end to which the power of the Grace of God can arrive, and the end, therefore to which our conversion, our change can arrive. But listen well: there is no other limit to the divine mercy offered to all! There is no other limit to the divine mercy offered to all! Remember this phrase. And we can all say it together: “There is no other limit to the divine mercy offered to all!” Let us say it together: “There is no other limit to the divine mercy offered to all!” The Lord is always ready to take away the tombstone of our sins, which separate us from Him, the light of the living.
FROM THE TWENTY-FOUR HOURS OF THE PASSION
Excerpt from the Nineteenth Hour
Left hand of my Jesus, I kiss you, I compassionate you, I adore you, I thank you, and, for the blows you receive and for the bitter pains you suffer while they drive the nail through, I ask you to concede, at this moment, liberation from Purgatory to the purging souls. Yes, O Jesus, for the Blood You shed from this hand, I beg You to extinguish the flames that burn these souls. May this Blood be refreshment and a healthy bath for all, such as to purge them from any stain and dispose them to the beatific vision. My Love and my all, for this sharp pain You suffer, I ask You to close hell to all souls, and to hold back the lightnings of Divine Justice irritated, alas, by our own sins! O Jesus, let Divine Justice be appeased, so that the divine chastisements may not pour down upon the earth, and treasures of Divine Mercy may be opened for the benefit of all. My Jesus, I place the world and all generations into your arms, and I beg You, O my sweet Love, with the voices of your own Blood, to deny no one your forgiveness, and by the merits of your most precious Blood, to concede to all the salvation of their souls! Do not exclude anyone, O Jesus!