Fifth Sunday of Lent (March 18, 2018)

In today’s Gospel (option for Cycle A), we experience the confident faith of Martha and Mary in Jesus as He brings back to life their brother Lazarus. St. Francis de Sales notes:

If our faith in the power of Our Savior has the confidence of Mary and Martha, it can bring life to us. It is in Him and from Him we expect all our help.

Our confession of faith is an act to willingly love God and all the things of God. Our hearts find God at the fountain of faith. When God gives us faith, God enters into us and speaks to our minds through inspirations. The first thing God does to our hearts is to arouse them to their own goodness. God sees us in our misery, and if we are willing, God rescues us from that misery. Faith is the best friend of our spirit. It has us love truth.

Faith prompts the beginning of love that the heart feels for the things of God. Faith sees that God is gentle with us, and constantly fills us with goodness. Faith sees that God’s eternal love arouses compassion rather than justice. God, by way of inspiration, leads us from love to love, as from dwelling to dwelling, until we are brought into most holy love. Divine love makes our faith come alive. Faith united to sacred love yields the fruit of good works. By His works, Jesus gives us every kind of proof of His love for us.

In raising Lazarus from the dead, our dear Master shows us that all His works are done through His goodness alone. He also made of Himself our food in the Eucharist. And did He not make the greatest possible act of love by dying on a cross, where He proved that love was stronger than death? Can we not confidently trust our faithful Servant and love the things that He loves? Our Savior’s watch over you is greater than your weaknesses. Live your faith joyously then in holy love as Martha and Mary did. Like Lazarus, God will work wonders in you, and enliven your faith with eternal life.

(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales, especially, Treatise on the Love of God.)