Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle A

Fifth Sunday of Lent

 John 11 1-45

"I am the resurrection and the life"

Today, in union with Martha, sister of Lazarus, we are invited to meet Jesus, “the resurrection and the life”. We can readily empathise with the deep feeling of regret in Martha's greeting: “Lord, if you had been here …”. Her brother had died; Jesus had not been there. If only he had arrived in time … She expresses already a simple faith in his power.

We commonly struggle with similar experiences. In the sunlight of happy days, faith can be strong and golden. But bereavement, sickness, disaster, anxiety, worries and fears, indeed all manner of events and problems can engulf us in a darkness that makes us cry out: “Lord, if only …”. Many of life's experiences really test our faith. And it is precisely in the midst of such moments that God asks us to take the real leap of faith and still, in that moment of human darkness and doubt, to believe that resurrection and fullness of life are the destiny of every man and woman.

Martha's strong faith helped to raise her above the intense sadness of her bereavement and disappointment. Even in the teeth of opposition from her own deep feelings of sadness, she declared her confidence in Christ. And there, in the darkness of her grief, shone the light of life. There, within her own emptiness, she found the fullness of God. In that sad confrontation with death, she found in Jesus the resurrection and the life. Jesus did not ask her not to weep, only not to despair, inviting her to believe in him, “the Christ, the Son of God”, our resurrection and our life. Martha proclaims her belief. She is an example for us of someone with simple faith coming through the experience of darkness into deep redeeming faith.