The Fifth Sunday of Lent comes at a pivotal time in our Lenten journey. Our journey is not yet complete. Darkness still comes early each day. It feels as if spring will never arrive and even the Gospel seems to address only illness, death and darkness. Yet ultimately John’s Gospel is about the power of prayer, the power of believing.
We learn that Lazarus is ill and that Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus of his illness. Jesus receives the message but remains in the place where he was. How often in our own lives have we experienced illness, pain or disappointment and wanted an immediate cure, a resolution? How hard it is to wait and accept that God hears our prayers and answers them in His own time! How challenging it is to believe in God in the light, and in the dark, when life is calm, and when uncertainty and hopelessness occur.
Jesus returns to Judea and finds that Lazarus has died. Martha meets Jesus and in an absolute statement of faith says, “I know whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” In our own hearts, do we believe that our prayers will be answered? Can we give up control and wait in faith, believing that the Resurrection guarantees life with our Father in heaven? We struggle to answer our Lord with the simple words of faith: “Yes, Lord, I believe.”
Jesus tells us throughout John’s Gospel that if we believe, we will see the glory of God. Jesus reassures us that our Father in heaven always hears our prayers. Jesus even thanks God for hearing him! How often do we forget to thank God for listening to our prayers and petitions? Do we come to God in prayer believing we will be heard, or does our faith falter when an immediate answer is not given, or the answer is different than the one we prayed for?
During this Fifth Sunday of Lent let us look inside our hearts to determine if we are making the Lenten sacrifices God desires. Are we doing loving and caring deeds for the poor and downtrodden? Do we truly believe that our Lord will never forsake us and that the miracle of Easter will endure?
Let us renew our belief in the power of prayer knowing that God always hears us. May our unfaltering response of faith be “Yes, Lord, I believe.”