5th Sunday of Lent
“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!” John 11:25
“Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, oh my People … and you shall know … that I am the Lord.”
The Words of Prophet Ezekiel, proclaimed to us in the 1st Reading of this Sunday. They are from his well-known Prophesy, in the Vision of the “Scattered Dry Bones in the Plain” The People of Israel had made a Covenant with God, but they were unfaithful, and abandoned the Lord God several time, in the process, sucking Life out of themselves; leaving themselves empty cold and dry as dead bones.
Nothing, they created for themselves could help them! Nobody, including their Kings could save them! Nothing! Only the Lord, from whom, since the beginning had breathed life into them could save them.
Ezekiel in this Prophesy, foretold, a Moment in Time, when God in His Spirit would intervene; gather his people together, reconnect them and breath Life anew into these Lifeless bones.
In the Gospel Reading, today, as Lazarus comes out of the tomb, alive, he who was dead, Jesus proved that He is the fulfillment of the Prophesy of Ezekiel; He was the Life-Giving-Presence among his People. Confirming what he revealed to Martha; “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!”
The Rising of Lazarus, as in every Miracle in St. John's Gospel is a Sign that revealed Emmanuel. The Rising of Lazarus is the 6th of these signs, leading to the 7th and Final Sign that of “Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross;” In which, as Jesus explained would finally be reveal his Divinity: “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I Am He” John 8:28
These past 3 Sundays, Jesus in three encounters, progressively revealed himself to Disciple leading to a Proclamation of Faith in every of those Disciples. Today the Disciple on this Journey of Faith is Martha, the sister to Lazarus and Mary.
When Martha heard that Jesus was on the way she run out to meet Him! And Her 1st words were, “Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died.”
Martha here confesses her faith in Jesus, but just as a Miracle Worker; She acknowledged that, Christ’s earlier presence would have made a difference in her brother’s life.
Jesus responded to correct her misunderstanding and informed Martha that Lazarus would rise!
Martha, whoever failed to acknowledge the “Life giving Reality,” in the Person of Jesus. Rather she schooled Jesus on the Jewish Traditional Teaching about Resurrection; “Resurrection on the last day.” It is at this Moment that Jesus took the initiative away from her; and Centered Resurrection on His Person; “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” “Whoever believes in me … will never die.”
Jesus calls Martha to this Faith, in Him; “The Resurrection and Life;” to which she responds with a better understanding; “Yes Lord.” “I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the One who is to come into the world!”
Martha (like the Samaritan Woman and the Man born blind) had ascended from Moments of “Partial Faith” to truly believing in Jesus as the Christ; the Son of God.
As we go home, today, to come next Sunday to begin the final ascend with Jesus to the Altar of the Cross, let us abandon ourselves into the Hands of God and pray that He may illumine our minds, console our hearts and increase our Faith.