Today is the Fifth Sunday of Lent I wrote this reflection for our Church website and am sharing it here. Enjoy.
Lord, If You Had Been Here
We can very much identify with the anguish Martha and Mary are experiencing in today’s Gospel. Martha confronts Jesus in a way with questions we might want to ask of him ourselves in our current situation. “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
These might seem harsh or even disrespectful from our perspective, but we have to remember the relationship between Jesus, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus was very human. There was a warm friendship between Jesus and these three siblings that shines through all these centuries later. Martha can ask this of her friend Jesus because they have gotten to know him in His humanity.
In one way, this is what lent is about. We encounter Jesus in his humanity. In the words of St Leo the Great, “To pay the debt of our sinful state, a nature that is incapable of suffering was joined to one that could suffer.” Jesus indeed joined in the suffering and grief with the others who loved Lazarus. But presence is much more profound than mere commiseration.
His response to Martha is one we are familiar with but worth reflecting on, particularly in a time of hardship and suffering, such as we are enduring today on a global scale. “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.”
Jesu speaks in the present tense because salvation is not something that we are waiting for in the future but is rather ongoing today, this moment and the question for us to reflect on this Fifth Sunday of Lent is, “Do I believe this?”
Our prayer is that each of us can respond as Martha did, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”