On this Fifth Sunday of Lent, we meet dead Lazarus brought back to life. In doing so, perhaps we meet ourselves!! If you haven’t caught my drift yet, I started my last two bulletin articles with the same line after the person we met in that week’s gospel…. “In doing so perhaps we meet ourselves!!” The gospel story two weeks ago of the woman at the well, the gospel last week of the man born blind, and the gospel of today, Lazarus all form the basis of the scrutiny prayers used each week with the elect who are to be baptized at the Easter Vigil. These prayers call not only the elect to see themselves in the character of the particular gospel and what Jesus does for those characters the prayers call us to see ourselves as well. So today, we all called to recognize what is dead in us, and ask Jesus to raise us from our sins so that we might live a new life NOW! Has love grown cold? Have hurts made us bitter and resentful? Have we isolated ourselves, unwilling to forgive? Certainly, Lazarus had human faults and failings. It is important to note in this gospel that Jesus resuscitated Lazarus back to the life in the time he was living. Lazarus got his same body back, he was the age he was when he died, he was the same person, given the chance to live again with the new life and ability to change that which was dead in him. Resurrection on the other hand comes at the end of time, and resurrection is something much more than resuscitation! At the resurrection, we are transformed in to the likeness of the Risen Lord – a completely new body! So, while we are still here on earth, we have the chance to live a happy life in this body if only we let Jesus heal what is dead in us!
The Coronavirus pandemic has certainly challenged one of the things we hold dearest…our independence. Many having to self-isolate, stores and restaurants closed, and worst of all, cancellation of public Holy Week and Easter liturgies. This pandemic has also made us more conscious of our mortality. This conversation between Martha and Jesus in today’s Gospel is a reminder to us not to fear. Lazarus had died. Martha said to Jesus “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “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?” Martha replied Yes, Lord, I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” May we live with the faith of Martha through this Coronavirus pandemic.