Homily for Sunday 29th March 2020

Gospel:- John 11:1-45
I am the resurrection and the life

Martha longs for life to be as it was before.
She longs, above all, that her brother, Lazarus, was still with her and her
sister Mary: that family life would still be as it always was.
In her typically practical approach to life,
somehow she has also decided that if Jesus had been present
this tragedy would never have happened.
Lazarus would still be alive and still with them.

We are joined in solidarity today with Martha
Because we too long that things once again
Would be as they always have been.
That life would be as it was for us, for our loved ones,
for our church and indeed for our world.
We may even be tempted to say with her
“Lord, if you have been here, this would not have happened”.

We long to move forward from the depths
of this awful viral threat to take up normal life again.
To enjoy the countless things we took for granted.
So many things that we seldom stopped to think about them.
We long for the touch of our loved ones.
We look to be able to hug our grandchildren again.
We long for the normal patterns of everyday life, the company of friends
and even the banter at work.
We long, also, to be again the active Eucharistic parish family, physically
gathered together, young and old, around the tables of God’s word and

Martha in her longing is presented with the question,
“Do you believe me?” She is invited to travel into the land of true and
deep faith.
The question continues,
“Do you believe me when I tell you that I am the resurrection and the
Do you believe me when I tell you that I can transform and redeem even
the most terrible of situations?”

Jesus promise, of course, goes far beyond what Martha had sought.
And Martha can say, “Yes”.

Martha declares her belief when life could scarcely have been worse for her.
She proclaims her faith in the Lord of life, even when surrounded by the darkness of death. 
We too are invited to say in the midst of this darkness, Yes, Lord, I believe.
The same Lord who invited Martha to belief is the one who makes our “yes” possible. The one who, by his initiative of love, makes true, deep and enduring faith possible.

We can say “yes” today also because we can see also the Lord at work in
the transparent goodness of so many people around us in these days.
In the skills and the courage of all our National Health Service workers;
in those who are serving others with the many tasks of daily life.
We can see it even in our media at times in these days. A media which
has been  able to speak with a voice which is truly and deeply spiritual.

Unbind him. Let him go free.

Those final words of our gospel had the power to bring Lazarus out from the tomb.
Those words speak with power also to our elect, still in our minds and our prayer, and point towards the new life to which they will be called in the waters of their Baptism.
They speak to us all in relation to the weakness and death of sin still present in all of us, but which is destroyed by the power of the Lord of life.

And surely in these days of anguish, the Lord invites us to make his words
our own as we cry out to him:-
Unbind us, Lord. Let us go free.
Unbind our world and bring an end to this time of suffering and pain.
Unbind us, Lord,  
And bring to us all
Your healing and peace.

5th Sunday of Lent, 2020