Easter 05, Year B

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Lying at the gate was Lazarus (Lk. 16:20)

The cry of “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” is undoubtedly a cry of anguish and aloneness. But far from being an acknowledgment of faithlessness and hopelessness, the cry is rather a profession of faith and a manifestation of hope. One who cries out thus, bothering still to address him who appears to be far from one’s call for help and the cause of one’s disillusionment, is actually affirming fidelity. So then, as is clear from the fact that the cry of anguish quickly turns into a song of praise, the one who feels abandoned by God and men really protests his or her faithfulness and renews his or her vows.

But fidelity, of course, is not just a matter of fidelity to God but also of fidelity to God’s people. It is indicated to us that the vows will be fulfilled before those who fear God. We are likewise told, as though being highlighted is the aspect of communion and harmony that faithfulness has, that “the poor will eat their fill” and that “all the ends of the earth will worship and turn to the Lord and all the families of nations will bow low before him.”

And it is recounted in the first reading that, as the church walks in the fear of the Lord, it enjoys peace, finds itself being built up, and grows in numbers with the consolation of the Holy Spirit. Faithfulness to Jesus, points out for its part the second reading, demands that we love one another. And the gospel reading presents Christian fellowship or communion as the oneness and interpenetration of the vine and the branches.

At our being grafted, by God’s grace and Christ’s choice, in the select vine, we Christians become fruitful, capable of works of evangelization, worship, charity, through which access to the Christian assembly is offered to those who are yet outside and feel alone, and even abandoned by God and men. We are pruned by Jesus’ words, of which also it can be recited:

Living words of Scripture
Truly jump out of every page,
Seeking that it be said to one at the gate:
“Come, and don’t stay outside;
For the Risen One is waiting inside.”

I now pray, in the spirit of the collect prayer of the liturgy for Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter, that God--life of the faithful, glory of the humble, happiness of the just--fill our emptiness with the blessing of the Eucharist, containing all delight and the foretaste of eternal joy. May he come to help us in our anguish and aloneness.