In the blessing and inauguration of a new mall, the priest celebrating Mass used in his homily an example from his experience of a funeral.  He noticed the Chinese owner of the mall twitching in her seat and uncomfortably mumbling. At the end of the Mass, the owner reproved the priest for citing death in his homily. In Chinese tradition, she said, death is never mentioned in a festive context.  That’s bad for business! 
While that may be standard for Chinese belief, the reverse is true for Christianity. As we celebrate today, we are greeted with images of death, dying, funeral and even an exhumation of a corpse!  There is no hesitation, no avoidance, and no fear of death in God’s Word today.
Why? God is not threatened by death, nor weakened or intimidated by it.  The Lord confronts death head on and pronounces a blessing on it, so as to transform it into life.  Look at the first reading (Ezek. 37: 12ff.), skeletons will be reassembled and the dead will rise again, not as zombies, but as living human beings.  The second reading (Rom. 8:8-11) reminds us that our bodies may die but our spirits will live because of the Holy Spirit of God residing within us.  The Gospel shows us Jesus raising his friend Lazarus from the tomb and declaring with force, “I am the resurrection” (John 11: 1-45).
Death finds its match in the hands of God.  God works in spite of the sadness and horror of death to bring about a great and noble purpose.  He allows us to go through death so that we may experience life in a new way.  In the Creed, we adhere to the resurrection of the body and profess faith in eternal life.
This is not only true in a physical sense for man today knows more than physical deterioration and decay. Today we speak of death as something that afflicts us in various aspects of life.  We die emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, even socially and financially. This is worse than physical death since it entails the interior suffering of one who is still alive. The worst death is the death that comes from sins. 
This Lenten season, the Lord promises us life again.  Last week, the Lord Jesus brought light to the blind.  Today, the Lord raises Lazarus from the dead. In the practices of Lent, especially in Confession, the Lord calls us out of death into life. Jesus wants to touch the dying or dead aspects of our life and summon them back to life.  Sadness, anger and alienation will give way to joy, forgiveness and reconciliation.
What in your life today is dying or maybe already dead? What needs to be touched by Jesus, summoned by Jesus into new life and vibrancy? As we journey through Lent let us seek Jesus as Martha and Mary did and beg him to pronounce on us his life-giving word. Amen.