Reflection for the Fifth Sunday of Lent
“If only you had been here Lord”…
As I read the gospel in preparing for this meditation my mind kept straying to the 4th of January of this year as I stood outside St. Peter’s Cathedral in London after the funeral Mass for my mother.
Surrounded by our Sisters, family and friends I found myself frozen in the sheer inexplicable grief of the moment. Traffic was passing, the bitter January wind was blowing, prayers were being murmured and I felt like I was watching a movie in slow motion. Scenes were passing by, but I was not in them. My mother’s casket was loaded into the hearse and it was over. But at that moment Fr. Ian stepped out into the snow and went to the door of the hearse, just before it closed. He placed a hand of blessing on the casket and simply bowed his head in prayer.
That one movement of affection, of blessing, of compassion and of respect represented, for me, the fact that indeed, the Lord was here.
Jesus was moved by the human condition – he wept, he comforted those who were wrapped in their grief, he accepted their frustration and their disappointment. He allowed them to question, to struggle with their belief and their guilt and then he ever so gently, but firmly asked for faith.
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. [But] even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you. “Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise. “Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”
We speak so easily of the Paschal Mystery; we have devotion to the Precious Blood; as missionaries we accompany others in their suffering and challenge them to believe in God’s goodness. During these coming days of Lent, with Scripture readings that emphasise the suffering and death of Jesus, let us pray that we may move from sympathy to empathy in our lives. May we not be afraid of sorrow and sadness and try to banish it with frivolity and distraction. Our Founder has encouraged us to have an inner peace and love of God which is like the bottom of a deep lake. The stormy surface may be whipped with waves, but the depth is still, life-giving and tranquil. Let us allow the agony of our human condition to carve a depth and beauty in our souls that allows us to be recognised as Christians. May we live in Faith, act in Hope and reflect this centre of tranquil, peace-filled Love.
Sr. Christa Mary Jones, CPS