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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, April 10, 2011

By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service

April 10, Fifth Sunday of Lent

Cycle A Readings:

1) Ezekiel 37:12-14

Psalm 130:1-8

2) Romans 8:8-11

Gospel: John 11:1-45

Nearly 30 years after the war in Southeast Asia, a former Vietnamese military photographer broke down in tears as he showed a visitor a particularly gruesome picture he'd taken. "I don't often show this photograph," he said of the image that caused his long-pent-up emotions to suddenly flow.

It showed a line of dead soldiers, blackened and half-buried by a bombing that completely destroyed their outpost. The photographer had been nearby, heard the bombing and went immediately to the site where he saw only devastation. "Everyone was dead," he recalled painfully.

He had been a North Vietnamese soldier assigned to carry a camera instead of a weapon. His military duty was to chronicle the war in photographs for his government. In a decade-old National Geographic documentaryI saw recently, he shared his story with a former British freelance photographer who returned to Vietnam to meet his counterparts from "the other side" of that war.

Gazing at the image, the Vietnamese photographer remembered, "It was so horrible, I didn't want to take any pictures. But I had to. I had to show people what war does, so it doesn't continue to happen." He pointed to the picture, "so they know this can't go on."

Peace and reunification soon did come to Vietnam, a nation that thrives today.

In the Gospel for the fifth Lenten Sunday, Jesus promises Martha that her dead brother Lazarus will rise. She professes belief in his resurrection "on the last day," but Jesus explains, "I am the resurrection and the life."

This passage tells usresurrection happens not only at what we call the end of time, but whenever Jesus is present. Life rises from the ashes of hurt and destruction among the living who carry Jesus' love and cry for justice in the existing world.

In Vietnam, those two photographers and others had shined the light on the horror of war. Years later, as they sat together recollecting their common experience and desire for an end to such human atrocity, they were surrounded by a new life in Vietnam, resurrected by Jesus, present in human compassion.


When have you witnessed the presence of Jesus bring new life to a dire situation? How do you see resurrection happen among the living?


"Jesus said to her, 'Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?'" (John 11:40)


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