5th Sunday in Lent – March 26, 2023

Last weekend, we explored the justice dimensions related to healthcare and well-being and how we can be vehicles of healing grace in our troubled world.

            This weekend, we’ll explore the justice dimensions of Standing for the Land, as we celebrate Solidarity Sunday.

You’ve all heard the saying, Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day.  Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime?      Well an unfortunate corollary, all to often is….

Give a man a corn cob, and he’ll eat for a day.  Teach a man to grow corn, then someone will steal his land and displace his people for it.  (revised from jokojokes.com)

While we’d like the first version to be true, all to often, it’s the second scenario that we see take place, time and time again, in the global South.

            We see it in the ruined lives of our sisters and brothers who are experiencing violence, environmental disasters, and physical displacement, due to the unjust actions of powerful industries and corrupt governmental systems.

In many ways, the poor in the global South are in an exile from more powerful forces than themselves.    And just as the Jews living in exile in Babylon from 597 to 587 BC, had lost all hope of ever returning to their beloved Holy Land, so too many of the displaced have given up all hope of ever returning to their ancestral lands.

Their lament echoes the words we hear in Ezekiel 37:11, “Our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.”

Such lack of future must have been hard for the Jews as well as those displaced today,

to accept and to process.  Living without hope is indeed, a tortuous fate.

But thanks to the Lord, Ezekiel prophecies that all hope is not lost!  Speaking for God, Ezekiel tells them, “I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil: then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act.”  (Ezekiel 37: 14)

God’s word has power.  God’s will is decisive.   Nothing can stand in God’s way when God decides to intervene.

And that’s exactly what happens to the Babylonian exiles.

God shows them that they’re not alone, even though they may be separated from their soil— their land— that God will once again renew his covenant with his chosen people and bring them back to the land the Lord had gifted them.

All he asks in return is from them is….

·       fidelity to their covenant once more

·       steadfast faith in Him

If they do these 2 things, the Lord promises to act with justice and firmness toward their adversaries.

Today, God continues to hear the prayers of his suffering people.   And he asks us, his intentional missionary disciples, to represent him in standing for the land, in solidarity with God’s precious people in the global South, by doing two things as well:

·       by placing our faith in God’s tender love and mercy

·       by our almsgiving

For such advocacy for the poor is a building block of justice and reflects the preferential option for the poor that is a hallmark of the gospel witness.

Indeed, it creates hope that all is not lost, that God has not abandoned his people, that we can create a sustainable world, in which we live in harmony with all of creation.

Jeremy Laurie, animator for British Columbia and Yukon’s Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada asserts, “For many, the foundations of that hope can be found in Pope Francis’ reflection that “As stewards of God’s creation, we are called to make the earth a beautiful garden for the human family. When we destroy our forests, ravage our soil and pollute our seas, we betray that noble calling.”

How do we create hope?

  1. International solidarity, recognizing our interconnectedness

Example:  a Honduran organization sponsored by D & P that

  • accompanies Indigenous communities and rights defenders,
  • raises awareness about ecological and economic issues,
  • resists unjust laws and policies;
  • helps to sensitize Canadians to the inadequacies of their own corporate laws.
  1. By relying on the power of the resurrection to transform our lives and our world
  • Think about those who witnessed Lazarus emerging from the tomb!

4 days (definitely dead, no lingering of the soul)  NO HOPE.


  • Similarly, think of those who see a glimmer of optimism, despite threats to their lives and well-being in the global South because of our support.
  1. By trusting in God’s powerful word and actions working through us.

Gospel:  “Lazarus, come out! And the dead man came out, his and feet

bound with strips of cloth and his face wrapped in a cloth.” (Jn 11: 43b-44)

Next weekend, we’ll begin Holy Week, by commemorating Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the city of Peace, and we’ll explore how Jesus’ unjust condemnation, suffering, and death on the cross cancels out the debt of our sins and challenges us to continue Jesus’ mission of  reconciliation in our world.


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