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Reflection Fifth Sunday in Lent, 2017

Mary Ann Rossi, CND

Sister Mary Ann Rossi, CND resides with four CND’s in Norwalk, CT where she is the local leader for the eight CND’s at Lourdes Health Care Center.  For many years she was part of the RI Associate group and now gathers each month at Wilton with Associates from the CT area.  

John’s Gospel’s telling of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead is a favorite of mine for two reasons.  First, Martha is a favorite of mine and it is in THIS Gospel, she proves to be a strong woman of faith in her direct exchange with her friend Jesus at a painful time in her life. It has been always easier for me to identify with Martha rather than her sister Mary. You know Mary, the one who sits at the feet of Jesus while Martha is in the kitchen making a meal for Jesus and his hungry followers!  I think that this is a genetic preference because my mother once confided in me that she was irritated with Jesus in this scene. “Mary Ann, who was going to make dinner if they were BOTH sitting at the feet of Jesus?  Mary reminds me of your Aunt Pauline who would be socializing with the guests in the living room while your father and I were preparing dinner.”

I love Martha’s frankness when Jesus FINALLY arrives at her home:  Lord if you had been here sooner you could have cured him.  You’re a little late!!  And yet, she finally admits that her friendship with Jesus is stronger than her resentment.  In this Gospel it is Martha who makes the proclamation of faith reserved for Peter in the other Gospels:  “Yes, Lord, I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God….”

The second reason I love this Gospel is because in it Jesus CONFRONTS DEATH.  In a course on the Gospel of John, the teacher told us that as Jesus stood before the tomb of Lazarus, the groan that came from him was an animal sound like the snorting or whinnying of a horse.  It was a primitive sound because at that moment, Jesus was facing THE ENEMY, death itself.  Now that I am in my later years, I am comforted by the fact that Jesus shared MY feelings about dying. Standing at his friend’s tomb, he knows the pain I feel and have felt at the death of those I loved and still do love, the rage I feel at the death of the innocent, especially children.   I read recently that this is the only time that Jesus prayed to his Father before a miracle. “I know that you always hear me.”    It reminds me of the prayers that Jesus will pray in the Garden of Gethsemane and from the Cross…. all seemingly desperate prayers followed by great trust.  He will remain faithful to the love he and his Father-God share.  And I, like Martha, pray to have that same faith.



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