In the film classic The Wizard of Oz, after the tornado dumps Dorothy’s house on the wicked witch of the East, the Munchkin coroner sings: I thoroughly examined her, And she’s not only merely dead, She’s really most sincerely dead! I always chuckle when I hear this Sunday’s Gospel about the raising of Lazarus. Everyone who witnessed that miracle knew Lazarus was very, very dead because he stank. And for me another charming part of this Gospel is Martha. She often gets bad press because of the Scripture episode where she complains about her sister Mary, who is not helping her with meal preparation, and Jesus seems to side with Mary. But in this Gospel it is Martha who is our model of faith. It is she first who goes to meet Jesus while Mary sits at home, and it is Martha who tells Jesus that even now, with dead Lazarus stinking, I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you. And she professes faith, saying: Lord, I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world. Then, as we know, Jesus reverses the seemingly impossible, irreversible calamity and raises Lazarus. That calamities can be overcome gives us hope. Hope is so needed today, perhaps especially by the young of our world. They face what seem to be unsurmountable problems like climate change, intractable poverty, systemic racism, suppression of human rights. The light that has come into the world is how John’s Gospel images Jesus. When human effort seems to face those insurmountable odds, we believers need to rely on that Lord of light, who has come into our worldly situation with power.
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia; illustration by unknown author, licensed under CC BY-SA-NC