This is the question Jesus poses directly to Martha in today’s gospel, after explaining to her: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” In the face of the death of her brother, Lazarus, four days before, Martha does not hesitate to reply: “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” In last Sunday’s gospel the man born blind whom Jesus had healed is asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” (John 9:35) After he asks who he is and Jesus replies that he is the Son of Man, the man says: “I do believe, Lord.” (John 9:38) These professions of faith model for the catechumens to be baptized at Easter and for us who will renew our baptismal promises the answers to the questions which will be posed to us: “Do you believe in God, the Father almighty…? Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord…? Do you believe in the Holy Spirit…?” Our response to these questions should be a sincere and enthusiastic, “I do!” Like the townspeople of the woman at the well in the gospel two Sundays ago, we believe not simply on the testimony of others; now this faith is our own, “for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.” (John 4:42)
Today’s gospel completes the trilogy of gospels intended specifically for the instruction of the catechumens preparing for baptism at Easter. New life is Christ’s promise to those who are bathed in the “living water” (cf. John 4:10) after having been enlightened by faith. Furthermore it fulfills in a way beyond imagining the prophecy first spoken to the Jews in exile in the sixth century before Christ: “O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them.” (First Reading) The ability of Jesus to call Lazarus forth from the tomb reveals him to be the Lord of life. Lazarus, however, was called back to earthly life and one day would die again. Nevertheless it invites us to look to Jesus’ own resurrection, through his dialogue with Martha, as the source of hope for our own resurrection to eternal life: “If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit dwelling in you.” (Second Reading)
You can easily access the readings for this Sunday, and for any day for that matter, by going to the website of the Unites States Conference of Catholic Bishops <usccb.org>. When you open that page just click the date on the calendar in the upper right corner and the readings for the Mass of the day will appear.
The deanery-wide Divine Mercy Retreat planned for March 29-30 has been cancelled. Unless things change, the pastors in the city have decided to be available for confessions, each in our own church, during the time the retreat was to have been held: at 3:00 PM this Sunday afternoon, and at 7:00 PM Monday and Tuesday evening. If you come for confession during that time, please maintain appropriate distance from one another and no more than ten people should be in the church at once. Please remember that an act of perfect contrition is sufficient for the forgiveness of even grave sins until one is able to go to confession.
Continue to pray the Rosary this week for all who are experiencing turmoil in their lives for whatever reason, especially because of all the disruption caused by the current crisis. Pray for all who are vulnerable or struggling with illness, and for the people who care for them. Pray for the end of this pandemic; and, as always, pray for peace. Saint Charles Borromeo and Saint Corona, pray for us!
May God bless his people with peace.