Fifth Sunday of Lent
Friendship and Compassion
By Sister Mary Antonine Manning
Jesus had many friends, among them Lazarus and his sisters, Martha and Mary. They lived in Bethany, not far from Jerusalem, and Jesus must have visited them regularly and received food, companionship and needed rest.
Lazarus became seriously ill, and a message was sent to Jesus up north in Galilee. By the time Jesus arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had died and been in his tomb for four days. Mary and Martha must have been longing for Jesus to come to them and they both declared:
“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” What faith they showed! At the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus wept for his dear friend and for the suffering of Mary and Martha. His compassion prompted him to pray to his heavenly Father and then call Lazarus back to life. As a result “many of the Jews who had come. . .and seen what he had done began to believe in him.”
What lessons can we learn from this? Pope Francis encourages us to imitate Jesus.
“Let. . . Jesus enter your life; welcome him as a friend, with trust: he is life! If up till now you have kept him at a distance, step forward. He will receive you with open arms. If you have been indifferent, take a risk; you won’t be disappointed. If following him seems difficult, don’t be afraid; trust him, be confident that he is close to you. He is with you and he will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as he would have you do.
We must find the Lord who consoles us and go to console the people of God. This is the mission. People today certainly need words, but most of all they need us to bear witness to the mercy and tenderness of the Lord, which warms the heart, rekindles hope and attracts people towards the good. What a joy it is to bring God’s consolation to others!”
Use these questions to guide your reflection:
- What do I need to do to become a closer friend of Jesus?
- How am I called to “bear witness to the mercy and tenderness of the Lord which warms the heart, rekindles hope and attracts people towards the good”?