In the Gospel today, Jesus shows us our faith, combined with Him is something much more. It is not just a passive faith that takes the shots as they come. Through Martha’s faith in Christ, we see the power of belief conjoined to God. When news reaches Him that Lazarus was sick, He didn’t hurrying to Bethany and say the illness would not end in death. However, Jesus also added something a little more mysterious, something the disciples didn’t pick up on, the illness was “for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” In our life of faith, we have to be attentive to Our Lord’s words, because often at first glance we can pass over what he is trying to say to us. Faith is not just an ascent to something presented to us as credible. It is also a source of light. We can go back to Our Lord’s words over and over in faith and find new light and new meaning. No one expected Our Lord would be able to bring back someone who’d been dead for days. All the other people he’d raised from the dead had only recently died. When Jesus told Martha her brother would rise, she knew, but she just thought Jesus was consoling her with the Jewish belief, even before Christ’s Resurrection, that Lazarus would be raised with everyone else on the last day. Martha’s faith had been strong enough to withstand not seeing Jesus for days and watching her brother die. It was strong enough to be the instrument for the sign He wanted to work for many other believers, the raising of her brother from death. So he invited her to believe that even those who believed and died would live. She put her faith in Him, not just the Jewish teaching about a future resurrection. When Jesus ordered the tomb to be opened, Martha’s faith was rewarded, and the power of God through those who believe was shown.
We place faith in people because we have certain expectations for them, expectations that we want to be met. Our faith in them usually begins with them already having met some of our expectations. When our faith in God weakens, it is usually because we feel he is not living up to our expectations. Martha believes in Our Lord today even though her expectations had not been granted, she had expected a healing, not the return of her brother to life. When someone we love suffers, we expect a healing and pray for it, but often it does not come. Do we persevere in faith? It’s at the foot of the Cross that we remember that Our Lord doesn’t owe us anything, but we owe Him everything. Spend some time this week at the foot of the Cross, reframing your expectations and renewing your faith.
God Bless your Lenten journey,
Deacon Mark Ruiz