Martha and Mary, and the immensity of God’s plan
Reflections on the readings for the Fifth Sunday of Lent (March 29, 2020): EZ 37:12-14; PS 130:1-2,3-4,5-6,7-8; ROM 8:8-11; JN 11:1-45
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
The people of two thousand years ago did not see with divine vision any more than we do.
As we move into the final days of Lent, the liturgical readings emphasize both redemption and resurrection. The Gospel according to John tells us how Martha and Mary of Bethany sent word to Jesus that their brother Lazarus was sick. Christ purposely delays going to them and, on His arrival, finds that Lazarus is dead and has been entombed four days. Martha speaks to Jesus with words of both faith and reproach when she says that if He had come earlier, her brother would not have died. But she and the many others gathered to mourn the passing of Lazarus do not yet grasp the power and the plan of God. Martha acknowledges that the dead will rise on the last day, but cannot comprehend that Jesus, the Son of God, has authority over life and death. Then He says, “‘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. Do you believe this?’ She said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son God, the one who is coming into the world’” (John 11:25-27). Jesus then goes to the tomb where Lazarus was laid and commands him to come forth. And he does.
The people of two thousand years ago did not see with divine vision any more than we do. Yet we have the life and love and words of Christ to show us that the world and the universe, is far more than we can ever comprehend. Unless we open our minds and spirits to let God reveal both His greatness and His goodness, His beauty and His sovereignty, we will only have our own limited outlook. Jesus granted his mercy to Lazarus and his family, just as he offers it to us. It may not come at the time or in the way we want or expect. But if we put our trust in our Savior, ultimately, we, too, will experience life with a fullness we could never have imagined.