Reflection for April 2, 2017

Why does God wait?  We experience suffering and times of anxiety.  We call out to God and ask the question, “how long, Lord” (Psalm 13)?  This same expression we can imagine exhaled from the hearts of Mary and Martha when Jesus finally showed up two day after hearing about his friend’s serious illness.  He loved his friend, Lazarus.  Yet he seems to delay.  Martha and Mary say to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11).

This seems to imply that Jesus should not have delayed.  He should have been there to heal his friend, if he loved him.  Yet, Martha expresses some hope that, in the future, he will be raised from the dead.  She looked only to the future.

Now Jesus says something incredible.  He says that the future reality for which she hoped is NOW present.  He says that HE is the Resurrection!  It’s already here!  During these remaining days of Lent, we reflect on the reality that Lent focuses our attention on the present.  We are in a place of waiting and death.  We are also in a place of experiencing the Resurrection in the midst of it.  So Lent is meant to be a season of joy in the middle of our sorrow.

Jesus was glad that he was not there when Lazarus died.  Why?  “So that you may believe.”  Lent allows us to experience a time of apparent delay.  We beg the Lord to come and refresh us, heal us and our relationships now.  “If he was here we would not have experienced those things that cause us misery,” so we say.  The Lord seems absent.  But then he comes in unexpected ways and displays his power before us…so that we may believe and our belief and understanding of our Lord may deepen.

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