Reflection on the Fifth Sunday of Lent


Fifth Sunday of Lent – 29 March 2020: The Raising of Lazarus
(John 11:23-27)

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Martha looks back to the past and wishes that Jesus had come in time to save her brother Lazarus. “If only you’d been here!” But Jesus presents a new picture to her by asserting that her brother will rise one day. She agrees because this was a fairly common belief in Jesus’ time. The novelty is that Jesus brings the future into the present. “I am the resurrection and the life.” Now, there is no need to go back to the past to find comfort. We need to look to the future and realise that the future can be brought to us today in the person of Jesus. The Carmelite text from the fourteenth century, The Ten Books, puts it like this: “to taste the sweetness of heavenly glory, not only after death, but already in this mortal life.”



"The Raising of Lazarus” by Duccio di Buoninsegna, 1310–11, from the Kimbell Art Museum