Grief – faith – hope

Apr 1, 2020

Fr. Michael Schleupner offers another reflection for our blog. This is focused on John 11: 1-45 for the fifth Sunday of Lent. To learn more about Fr. Michael, click here for information about his next retreat with us.

Grief – faith – hope

These three words capture one of the core messages of todays’ long, but very human and beautiful gospel story.

Jesus restores to life a man named Lazarus.

Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha were very close friends of Jesus. He often hung out at their home in Bethany and enjoyed their company. Martha and Mary are now at their home, mourning the loss of their brother. Jesus has not yet gone there but he too is grieving. Our English says that he is “perturbed” – kind of a strange word in this context.In the original language, this seems to be conveying that Jesus is profoundly moved and sad in the depths of his being, to the point of crying.

Eventually Jesus arrives in Bethany and talks with Martha and Mary. In their conversation, the word “believe” is used eight times. What emerges is that Martha and Mary believe. They have faith not in an abstract teaching, but in the person of Jesus. Martha explicitly declares her faith that he is the Christ, the Son of God. And it is this faith that gives these two sisters hope. They trust that even now, four days after Lazarus’ death, Jesus can do something. Their hope opens the door to Jesus’ healing and restorative power. With this hope, they allow the grave to be opened and their brother Lazarus walks out, restored to life. So, in the midst of grief and loss, Mary and Martha have faith in Jesus and this faith leads them to hope in his power.

The result is life, restored life, new life.

Right now, we are all suffering loss – maybe the death of loved ones to the Coronavirus or to some other illness, maybe the loss of our job or the loss of income and financial security.

In this time of loss, let’s renew our faith in Jesus as Emmanuel, God-with-us. And with that faith, let’s place our hope and trust in him – in his power to heal and restore others and us, right now.


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