The gospel about Lazarus is all about the identity of Jesus. His love for Lazarus, Mary and Martha shows the depth of Jesus' humanity. Jesus' divinity shines forth through the words of Jesus: "I am the resurrection and the life." Before raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus invokes his Father and thus testifies to his oneness with him in the unity of the Blessed Trinity.
In our Lenten journey the Church is constantly drawing our attention to the redeeming power of Christ's Blood. In his suffering and death on the Cross, Jesus becomes the source of salvation for all who believe in him. In the Gospel Jesus himself tells us that lifted up from the earth, he will draw everyone to himself. This is truly the meaning of redemption, which we acknowledge, saying: "We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.
On Laetare , the Church as the new Jerusalem is called to rejoice. We are at the midpoint of our Lenten journey toward the full celebration of the Paschal Mystery. Another reason for special joy is that the word of God presents to us today such a beautiful description of God's mercy, which Pope Francis has just announced will be the subject of an Extraordinary Jubilee. Because God is rich in mercy – which is his love as it confronts all our weaknesses, our needs, our sins – we are indeed confident and empowered to rejoice.
Today through the word of God the Church presents to us in the Mass a great Canticle of Mercy. She praises God who removes guilt, pardons sin, delights in clemency and has compassion on us. In the Gospel parable we encounter the Father who tells us that we must greatly rejoice over the conversion of one of our own. This fully reveals that the Lord is kind and merciful.
In celebrating the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, the Church presents to us the testimony of God the Father who introduces his Son to the world with these words: "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him." These words of the Father are the whole program of the Church and of our Christian lives. In addition, in the Transfiguration, Pope St. Leo the Great tells us that, in witnessing the glory of Christ, the Apostles are fortified for their future experience of seeing him in the humiliation of his Passion and Death. The Transfiguration fortifies us also in our faith in Jesus as the Son of the eternal Father.
In our reading from the prophet Ezekiel, God speaks, appealing to us to make for ourselves "a new heart and a new spirit." This comes about in the conversion of our life, when we turn completely to God, to live totally for him. The Church proposes to us to find in the Heart of Jesus the perfect response to God's call. The Heart of Jesus is then our model of total surrender to the Father's will. The Heart of Jesus is our inspiration. In contemplating this Heart,we are moved to respond to God's love, to his invitation to conversion and holiness of life.
The word of God shows us the value of the prayer of supplication. Queen Esther prayed earnestly for her people and God came to her assistance. Her prayer was likewise a prayer of adoration and praise.The Responsorial Psalm also draws our attention to the importance of thanksgiving. In the Gospel Jesus himself encourages us to trust in him: "Ask and it will be given to you."