April 2, 2017
Fifth Sunday of Lent
Ez 37:12-14 Rom 8:8-11 Jn 11:1-45
Something in this morning’s Gospel reading jumped right out at me, and I might as well get straight to it – right after Lazarus is raised from the dead and Jesus tells them to untie him, it says,
“Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what he had done began to believe in him.”
Many? Not all? Doesn’t it seem like that should be an all kind of thing? It doesn’t even say “most” just “many.”
Who the heck are these people who didn’t believe? What kind of people see a man no joke raised from the dead, dead long enough to have to worry about the stench, and still go “yeah….I’m just not sure about the whole Jesus is the Son of God thing….” Are they kidding me with this stuff?
When Thomas (the doubting one) put his hands and fingers into the hands and side of Jesus, Christ said to him, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” He doesn’t say what happens to those who have seen and yet have persisted in their unbelief. Why do they so stubbornly refuse to be persuaded?
The constant refrain of those who are of the atheist/agnostic persuasion is that they would believe if only there were incontestable proof presented to them, but would they? What does that mean to those of us who are believers? What is our responsibility in sharing the faith with those who refuse to see that Truth is right in front of them?
It is our job to, as St Francis is mis-quoted as saying, preach the Gospel at all times and when necdessary use words. We are called to share the truth of Christ with all the world. This can seem daunting in a world which seeks to shut us down before we even begin to speak, and yet…Faith is a gift. It’s a gift that we can help our Heavenly Father to bring to people. We can be a part of the offering, but we don’t get a say in what they do with it. Some will accept it with joy and thanksgiving, and others will choose to not look beyond the surface before rejecting all that is offered to them.
Today’s Gospel helps to remind us to not be discouraged, because their rejection of truth and faith is not about us. Christ himself stood before a crowd and literally brought a man back to life, and there were people there who said, “Nah, man, I don’t believe that stuff is real.” They lived the moments of the stories we tell and still their minds and hearts were closed.
It’s not about you. It never was. It’s about them and God, just as it should be.
See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons