March 26, 2023
by Mirielle Mason
Creighton University's School of Pharmacy and Health Professions
click here for photo and information about the writer

Fifth Sunday of Lent
Lectionary: 34

Ezekiel 37:12-14
Psalm 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
John 11:1-45

Praying Lent Home

The Fifth Week of Lent - 18 min. - Text Transcript

A Contemplation on the Raising of Lazarus
for the Fifth Sunday of Lent

Lent as Hearing the Cry of the Poor

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Stations of the Cross

Meatless Friday Recipe Ideas for Lent

Understanding the Scrutinies

I appreciate the level of faith and trust Mary and Martha had in Jesus. It is understood that Jesus had the ability to reach Lazarus while he was still alive because he was only two miles away. Mary and Martha knew this. So, when Jesus did arrive, days late, I would imagine the sisters being very angry. And yet, when Martha greats Jesus and He tells her that Lazarus will rise, she does not become angry. She could challenge him, saying, "What do you mean?! He is dead! You could have been here days ago and saved him but you did not!" Instead, she confirms that she knows her brother will rise again- in the resurrection on the last day. And is that not a greater gift than living longer on earth! But, amidst the pain of loss, how difficult is it to recognize that fact? Mary certainly struggles to realize it. She does lament to Jesus that if he had just come sooner, Lazarus would still be with them.

Now, let’s back up and examine a line at the beginning of this passage, "This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it."  Wow…. What if we applied this all over our lives? I am reminded of the Ignatian value Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam. Our entire lives should be for the greater glory of God - and that includes our suffering! Now, it is not that God wants us to suffer, but rather we have a lot to gain from suffering. Strength, perseverance, faith, and perspective are a few that come to mind. Mary and Martha certainly gained all four, but I’d like to highlight the last one.  This experience gave them the ability to see that eternal life with Jesus in heaven is a greater gift than more time with their brother. Furthermore, they, especially Mary, gained faith in Christ as she watched Him perform the miracle of bringing her brother back to life.

What was at the root of all of this? Suffering. Lazarus suffered an illness and death. The sisters suffered grief at the loss of their brother. They had frustration, sadness, hopelessness and so many other emotions. But what did this anguish allow for? A community came together to love and support them! Jesus performed a miracle that instilled faith in many bystanders.

What is my point here? Suffering is what brings us together - it unites us. We all have it. The pain of others is what gives us the opportunity to be Christ to others. A life free of suffering is not possible, but we do have the unique ability to lessen the difficulties of others. And remember, the greatest suffering of all was Jesus died on the cross to save us…

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.

Sharing this reflection with others by Email, on Facebook or Twitter:

Email this pageFacebookTwitter

Print Friendly

See all the Resources we offer on our Online Ministries Home Page

Daily Reflection Home

Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook