5th Sunday of Lent Year A (2023)

Mass Readings for the 5th Sunday of Lent Year A

  • First Reading – Ezekiel 37:12-14: “I will put my spirit in you that you may live, and I will settle you upon your land; thus you shall know that I am the Lord.”
  • Responsorial PsalmPsalm 130: “With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.”
  • Second ReadingRomans 8:8-11: “If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit dwelling in you.”
  • GospelJohn 11:1-45: “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. Do you believe this?”

Themes for the 5th Sunday of Lent Year A

The readings for the 5th Sunday of Lent are about how God can take us from death to new life. The first reading tells us of God’s desire to bring us back to life. The second reading tells us if Christ dwells in us, we will have new life as He does. And the gospel tells how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.

Some possible themes for this weekend are

  • New life
  • Resurrection
  • The Pascal Mystery
  • Grief and suffering

See the Homilies and Reflections section and the More Thoughts section for further expansion on these readings and some reflection questions for the 5th Sunday of Lent Year A.

Resources for the 5th Sunday of Lent Year A

Prayer for the Grieving

Grieving the loss of a loved one can be a long process. It is natural for many to turn to God in these times. Although it can also be normal to experience anger, disappointment in God, or a general lack of faith. Don’t despair! God is still there. He is waiting for you and patiently allows each of us to grieve in our own way.

What Is the Paschal Mystery?

The Paschal Mystery is God’s plan for the salvation of mankind, as fulfilled in the passion, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has shown us that death does not have the final word.

Not a Campfire Story – Discussion and Reflection Questions

This reflection will help youth consider the reality of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. How does Jesus help us overcome our fears?

Lenten Ideas for the 5th Sunday of Lent Year A

Give Up Complaining for a Day

It is so easy to fall into the habit of complaining. To really not complain at all for one day is more difficult than it sounds. So don’t complain about anything. At all. Really. Fast from complaining.

Make Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns are traditionally served during Lent, particularly on Good Friday in some parts of the world.  The cross on them reminds us of the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ. The spices used in them are reminders of the fragrant spices used during burial at the time

See More Lenten Ideas

See specific ideas for practicing prayer, fasting, and almsgiving during the Lenten season.

Homilies and Reflections for the 5th Sunday of Lent Year A

Let Him Go

From Bishop Robert Barron. This Sunday’s Gospel deals with death through the story of Lazarus who, after four days in his tomb, represents someone who is totally sunk in sin, totally dead spiritually. The voice of Jesus calls Lazarus, and all of us, back to life—no matter what we’ve done, and no matter how dead we are.

At Lazarus’ Tomb

From Scott Hahn. As we draw near to the end of Lent, today’s Gospel clearly has Jesus’ passion and death in view. By His Resurrection Jesus has fulfilled Ezekiel’s promise in today’s First Reading. He has opened the graves that we may rise, put His Spirit in us that we may live.

Facing Our Fear

Jeff Cavins explains that Jesus brings us life from death, brokenness, and decay. He overcomes death.

More Thoughts for the 5th Sunday of Lent Year A

Today’s readings bring forward how Jesus’ female disciples heard and understood what he was saying. We know that Martha, Mary, and Lazarus were good friends of Jesus and probably knew him well. So when Lazarus becomes seriously ill, they call on the Lord.

But Lazarus dies and the sisters are distraught. When Jesus finally arrives, Lazarus has been entombed for several days. Upon seeing Jesus, Martha expresses her faith in his power. “If you had been here…” And her discussion of the resurrection indicates that she has knowledge and interest in theology.

When Jesus states “I am the resurrection and the life…” he asks Martha if she believes. And she firmly confesses her faith. “Yes Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ.” Oh that we would have such unwavering faith in our Lord!

Then Mary enters the scene. As usual the contrast between the two sisters is evident. Martha reacts from her head, and Mary responds from her heart, with anguish and weeping. With Martha, Jesus responds with knowledge. But with Mary, he responds with emotion. “Jesus wept.”

So we can see that both women have faith in Jesus, despite their different responses. And he responds to them in kind. Our Lord experiences life in the many ways we experience it. He is always in solidarity with us.

Reflection Questions for the 5th Sunday of Lent Year A

  • In times of crisis, do I tend to respond with my head or my heart?
  • How do I encounter Jesus in these moments?
  • How has my faith helped me through a difficult time?

Social Media Graphic for the 5th Sunday of Lent Year A

Thus says the Lord GOD: O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them, and bring you back to the land of Israel.

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