Fifth Sunday of Lent

Today’s Gospel for the fifth Sunday of Lent, is the well-known story of the Raising of Lazarus.  Every time I hear this Gospel proclaimed or read it I am always struck by something new.   We hear that Jesus receives word that His friend Lazarus is ill – near death.  Jesus sets off at once to go to His friend in his time of need.  Before Jesus arrives Lazarus dies and is place in the tomb.  Lazarus’ grieving sister meets Jesus and says, “If you had been here our brother would not have died.”  Jesus assures her that Lazarus was not dead merely sleeping.

In today’s Gospel Jesus responds to our grief. We see Jesus both in his humanity as he grieves for his friend, Lazarus, and as he mourns with his friends Martha and Mary. We also see Jesus’ divine power to raise Lazarus from the dead. Jesus himself shows us that grief is a deep expression of love, not a lack of faith or trust.

How does Jesus respond to our grief? He is with us, comforting us, as he did Martha and Mary. He helps us, as he did them, to grow in our belief that death (or loss of something that we love) is not the end for any of us.  In this most unsettling time Jesus is right there with us, encouraging us and comforting us.

It is hard to believe that it is already the fifth Sunday of Lent.  Time is seemingly flying by.  Each year the Lenten readings seemingly are on target and are what we need to hear.  We can trust in Jesus even when he seems to be absent. Jesus weeps with us. Jesus is fully human. And in that we have hope.  May we take time this day to praise our God for His continuous blessings upon us.