Fifth Sunday in Lent- 26th March
Ezk 37:12-14 Ps 129 Rom 8:8-11 Jn 11:1-45
We are familiar with the story of Martha and Mary from Luke’s gospel (10.38) and in that episode Mary certainly seems to come off better than her sister. So it is interesting to look at today’s gospel account of the raising of Lazarus – the third of the great catechetical gospels of John given to us during Lent. There the two sisters appear again and once more it seems that Martha is the more active of the two, but in this case, it is certainly Martha who comes out better. Both sisters lament Jesus’ absence at the death of their brother and express their faith that if he had been there, he could have prevented it. Martha however gives a great profession of faith – comparable to that of Peter at Caesarea Philippi (Mt16.18). She first affirms that “even now, whatever you ask of God, he will grant you.” And when Jesus presses her, she professes: “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God the one who was to come into the world.” The story may be described as an account of the raising of Lazarus, but it is also certainly an account of the great faith of Martha – and perhaps that is some consolation for those who always seem to be irritated by the Lucan episode!