As the Spring term commences and our students begin their studies remotely, please be assured of my prayers for you and our Aquinas House community. While we are temporarily separated, it’s important to remember that we are always united in faith and through our prayers. Our prayers can make a big difference and I ask that during this challenging time we continue to pray for those who are sick, their families and those who care for them.
What I found very moving and consoling about the Gospel this past Sunday (the Fifth Sunday of Lent) is that we are allowed to see a deeply personal side of Jesus. He is troubled in the face of death, at the loss of Lazarus, and at the grief of his dear friends Martha and Mary. He is brought to tears for them and perhaps for himself as he considers what he must endure in Jerusalem.
The question Jesus asks Martha “DO YOU BELIEVE?” and her response “YES LORD I HAVE COME TO BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE THE CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD. THE ONE WHO IS COMING INTO THE WORLD” is the key to understanding this passage. With this type of faith in Jesus all things are possible. Remember it was Martha who was corrected by Jesus, told that she was burdened by many things and that her sister, Mary, had chosen the better part by sitting at the feet of Jesus. Now Martha gets a second chance and she takes full advantage of it by proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ! Such faith enables Jesus to cry out in a loud voice “come out Lazarus” having shared the breath of new life with him. It is an opportunity not only for Lazarus but for us to cast off those things that bind us, keep us from responding to the needs of others, and from living joyful lives of faith. Jesus is constantly calling us to come out of the darkness and come into His Light!
Early Christians sometimes referred to themselves as The Living. We are called to be alive in Christ and allow Christ’s light to pervade our lives – shining for others to see both in good times and difficulties. Just as Jesus breathed new life into Lazarus, he desires to give us new life through faith and the forgiveness of our sins. The profundity of the Gospel is that through Jesus, life predominates even in the midst of death, doubt, confusion and fear – for Jesus is the source of life and has power over sin and death. The raising of Lazarus foreshadows the new life that Jesus will give to all who believe in him!
May God Bless and protect you, your families and our Aquinas House Community. Rest assured of my prayers.
Fr. Brendan Murphy, O.P., Chaplain