March 26, 2023
“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Lazarus, Mary Magdalene and Martha are good friends of Jesus. Why does He not seem to respond to them and heal Lazarus?
- We are living very difficult times.
- We also can feel that the Lord is not responding to our prayers.
- Jesus is especially demanding of His friends.
- He calls them to extreme faith.
- In order to prepare His great mercies.
This is a computer-generated transcription that has been included to make the homily searchable. It has not been verified by the author.
“If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus had healed so many people, healing them immediately. And yet this Lazarus, and his sisters are special friends of His, and they sent for Him early, saying, Lord, the one You love is ill, and the Lord, let His good friend, suffer, and die. And the sisters, who were also Martha and Mary, experienced the suffering of their brother. Why didn’t He come? You can imagine the torment that they’re feeling. Why didn’t He at least work the miracle from a distance. And so, this is an example of the terrible pain that we can feel when it seems like God is not listening to our prayers. And Jesus goes on to say this illness is not unto death, it is for the glory of God. And that seemed to be contradicted by the fact that he did die. And some were even taunting Him saying why He healed others, why couldn’t He heal Lazarus, His good friend? The gospel is also often giving us like in a condensed form, experiences that we often live in our own life. And this is an example of when God doesn’t seem to be responding, when He seems absent. You call out to Him, and He doesn’t seem to respond, doesn’t seem to be listening. And there is a terrible sense of why isn’t God helping me and especially if a person has tried to be faithful to Him? Why isn’t He responding? I think, for instance, of a friend of ours, whose mother when the mother was pretty young, I think in her early 50s, she had a stroke. And our friend was caring for her mother, and trying all sorts of things, all sorts of medical options, but also all sorts of healing, searching for healing going on to many healing services and healing Masses, and even making a very difficult sacrifice of taking her mother all the way to Lourdes to pray for healing for her. And all those 20 years and no, no healing. Then the mother finally died. And the person sensed that there are a lot of graces for the family, from all the sacrifice of the mother. But the mother wasn’t healed despite all their efforts. And so, I think one of the points that this gospel is showing us is that God often ask, special trials, special help of His good friends. The Gospel emphasizes that, it says Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. They were special friends, especially close to Him. And yet, when He gets this news, He stays where He is, He doesn’t respond right away. And we would think that maybe for Jesus friends, things would go easier. They’d been trying to be faithful to Him, so he’s going to take care of them. And yet, they suffer. He asked them to suffer in a way that He wasn’t asking others to suffer. He asked of them an extreme trust, that He didn’t ask of most people, many people as again, He would heal them right away. But a special friend, He was asking more, the friends of Jesus will have a special share in His glory and honor and His joy for all eternity. But the friends of Jesus on this earth have a special share in His cross and His saving mission. And the Lord knows how much He is asking of His friends. And many are experiencing this right now, in these times, these hard times that we’re living where there’s not as many miracles as we would want and hope. And we can feel that same phrase Lord, if you had been here, why didn’t you respond? And so, it’s especially important in these times, to look to the paschal mystery that is the mystery of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus because that’s what can help us understand what we’re living right now. Because Jesus is often asking extreme faith of His friends today. He asked extreme faith of Martha and Mary and Lazarus, to continue to believe, even when it seemed like it was too late, that He hadn’t responded. And now it was too late. There was a special miracle that He needed to do this great miracle, to help people to believe and strengthen their faith before His own passion. And He didn’t ask that of everyone, He asked that of his special friends. And so, we may find ourselves in a similar situation, and which faith becomes extremely difficult. Notice what Jesus says to them. He said, Martha and Mary, “Did I not tell you, if you believe, you would see the glory of God?” So, what’s the condition for seeing the glory of God? Believing. He doesn’t say, if you work harder, if you give it 110% If you try more, if you’re better organized, if you plan better, if you network better, if you work smarter, all these things that our world tells us that we need to do. But none of that’s going to show them the glory of God, there’s one thing they need to do. And that is believe. And that’s what’s hardest to do in that moment. And that’s what Jesus said to St. Faustina, is always saying that it’s trust, which permits His mercies to flow. Trust faith in Him, which permits God to give His great mercies. You know, that’s, when our little mission here was trying to discover what was it, what was the special charism, the special mission the Lord wanted us to focus on and He gradually revealed it to us that it was faith, so that God can act? Are there any examples of that in the Gospel? The Gospel is full of examples. And this, this gospel today is one of the great examples so that God can act, what is the asking of them? One thing, but one extremely difficult thing, to believe, to have faith. And that can be excruciating. It’s easy to say faith so God can act, it sounds great rah, rah. But it can become excruciating. And in our world, it seems delusional in a world, which rejects the presence of God, that seems crazy. Like hoping that their brother could be brought back from the dead after four days, crazy. And yet, that was what Jesus was asking them to believe. And so, Jesus, why is He asking this of his friends, because He wants to prepare a special mercy that will help many to believe. And so, it’s not that He wants to torture His friends. He wants to give a special grace. But that grace requires a great sacrifice of faith. And He can’t ask that of most people. So, He asked it of His friends. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, even though he die, yet he shall live.” Again. That’s what Jesus keeps emphasizing, in this whole gospel, belief. It’s faith, which is gonna permit this miracle. whoever lives and believes in Me again, He insists, shall never die. And then what is His say? “Do you believe this?” What kinda sometimes, sometimes, sometimes it’s really hard to believe. And so, this whole, this this whole gospel, this very difficult trial, is Jesus, trying to help them come, then, and all those who are who learned of this, to come to a greater act of faith, to prepare them for the passion that He would soon be living. So, the point I wanted to emphasize is that it’s a great privilege to be a friend of Jesus. But that great privilege doesn’t mean that things will be easier in this life. Oftentimes, it will mean that we will have a special share in His trials, so not to be scandalized. Like, remember that the apostles, they were the ones who have been close to Jesus, what they were wanting? So, when your kingdom comes, we want a special place. They were thinking of Jesus as a human kingdom. They wanted a privileged place. And that’s the danger for all of us. That, okay, Jesus, I’m trying to be your friend. I’m making sacrifices, so you take care of me too, you make things easier for me. And then, sometimes things are very hard and we think well, you know what happened? Again, it is a great grace and a great privilege that we will be the friends of Jesus, will share for all eternity, but on this earth, the friends of Jesus are called to a special share in His cross. And the greatest example is our Blessed Mother. No one had loved Him as she had and yet she was not spared the cross. No one experienced the pain of the cross the way she did. And now she is exalted in joy and glory, but on this earth, she said shared His trial. Jesus, we trust in You.
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