A Reflection for 5th Sunday in Lent
‘This sickness will end not in death but in God’s glory, and through it the Son of God will be glorified.’
1. Jesus knew how Lazarus would end. He knew His friend would die. And he will come back to life. His listeners didn’t see it. They did not predict it in any way that the deceased could rise from the grave. Those who laid Lazarus dead in the grave could totally doubt the words of Jesus’ promise. We are in a similar situation today. We don’t know what awaits us. We feel fear because we experience helplessness in the face of illness, suffering and death. Jesus’
words mean that God always has his plans that exceed our imagination, God’s Word is a promise that will be fulfilled in the future. God gives hope and expects trust. We enter the night and we don’t know how long it will last. But the night ends with the sunrise. We don’t know what suffering we will come through or what the raging epidemic will end. But one thing is certain that God, in His providence, always accomplishes his plan. He can bring life out of
the grave. His last word belongs to him. He does not explain everything to us, but says: “Trust, believe, do not be afraid.”
2. “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” Jesus, like everyone, had friends. He often visited them and spent time with them. He found rest in their home when he was tired of teaching, healing or being attacked by the Pharisees. There is something very beautiful in this, truly human. After all, we don’t love everyone equally. And that’s not the point to love everyone the same. We have friends, or people with whom we are feeling good. We have a
“place” where we look for rest, where we feel safe and where we feel good. When illness, suffering or death come, we are looking for comfort which comes from friendship. The experience of friendship deepens our understanding of our faith in God. Because faith is building up friendship with Jesus.
3. “If you had been here, my brother would not have died”. There is a hint of regret in these words. Because Jesus seems to be late. He healed so many strangers, and he could not make it on time to heal his friend. When Saint Teresa of Ávila fell seriously ill and she was in excruciating pain, and said to Jesus, “Why are you giving me such pain if you love me?” He replied, “I always do this to my friends.” The temperamental Spaniard fired back: “That’s
why you have so few!” Yes, we are entitled to complain to Jesus. Friends tell each other the truth. Prayer does not always have to be a polite prayer. It may be a complaint to God. We don’t have to be ashamed of pain, grudge or even anger before God. We also sometimes have the impression that he is late, that he leaves us. Just to tell him in the face.
4. “I am the resurrection and the life. If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” This is the central sentence of today’s Gospel. In these days, when we stare into eyes of death, these words are light in the dark. Instead of cursing the darkness, it is better to grasp this light and repeat after Marta: “Yes, Lord,’ she said ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was tocome into this world.”
Dear brothers and sisters.
I would like to assure you that you are in my prayers and in my thoughts every day. May God bless you. Let us keep each other in prayer.
God bless you all,