Stained glass feature from St Eugene's Cathedral - The Raising of Lazarus

During the six weeks of Lent 2020, Bishop Donal McKeown invites us, as individuals, as families and parish faith communities of the Diocese of Derry, to use the six Sunday Gospels of Lent to look at the life of service to which God is calling all of us, as the 2020 disciples of Jesus.

Priests and parishioners of the diocese are asked to create opportunities in their parish for discussion of each Gospel reflection.

Bishop Donal's fifth reflection for consideration is outlined below.

Fifth Sunday of Lent - The Raising of Lazarus

The Gospel of the fifth Sunday of Lent 2020 can be viewed here on CatholicIreland.Net

Reflection by Bishop Donal

We all know how death can destroy plan and dreams. Today's Gospel shows Jesus engaging with a group of people who are in crisis because of a death.

The Christian message is not merely about the belief in an after-life. It is part of a way of looking at who we are as human beings. We are made in the divine image and likeness. In the Sacrament of Baptism, our bodies became Temples of the Holy Spirit. In the Eucharist, we receive Christ's Body into ours. And our bodies will be raised up in glory on the Last Day.

The Gospel story of the Raising of Lazarus is set against the backdrop of Jesus' own imminent death, the many elements of it foreshadowing the Good News of His own Resurrection. Jesus shows His power over death so that, when He Himself dies, those who believe in Him might remember and take hope.

Reflections for discussion and consideration:

  1. Our Lenten journey this year has surely been one that calls for faith and hope. Things have been happening – or not happening – that none of us could have predicted or imagined.

    What stories of faith and hope have you witnessed in these past few weeks in your own parish community that have inspired your own faith and hope?

    What opportunities have been open to you as parishioners that, in normal times, might not have presented themselves?

  2. With Martha and Mary, we are called to profess our belief that Jesus is indeed the Resurrection and the Life. As part of our Baptismal responsibilities, we are called to open ourselves to His life-giving Spirit and make Him known and loved to others.

    How do the very powerful teachings in today's Gospel equip us to take the challenges of these responsibilities seriously in our families and parishes in 2020? 

  3. Our Lenten journey draws us closer to the holiest of weeks in the Church calendar, when we celebrate the timeless and central mystery of our faith − Christ's passion, death and resurrection.nThe celebration will be very different for all of us this year – for priests and parishioners. We can share the pain and sense of abandonment which Jesus showed. And yet, as people of hope and belief, we trust that the God who is love is in charge.

    How can we be people of encouragement in our parishes at this time for those who do not feel part of our parish community or for whom God may seem distant?

    + Donal McKeown
    Bishop of Derry

Liturgy music suggestions for Sunday, 29 March​

  • Lord of mercy and compassion
  • O Lord, my God (How great Thou art) 
  • My song is love unknown

Diocesan Prayer for Lent 2020 

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