“I praise you, LORD, for you have raised me up and did not let my enemies rejoice over me…. LORD, you brought me up from Sheol; you kept me from going down to the pit” (Psalm 30:2,4).
Two main characters in today’s Gospel: Martha & Mary. Martha runs to meet our Lord upon his return to Bethany and professes in her lifelong Jewish understanding of the resurrection on the last day. She comes to believe in Jesus as the miracle worker. Our Lord looks to Martha and states, “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. Do you believe this?”
At the same time, Jesus calls for Mary and she quickly responds and professes her intimate loving faith in who Jesus is, but eventually cannot help but give into the ritual mourning of “the Jews.”
When we read of Jesus weeping it is not for ritualistic purposes as was the custom during the week after the deceased had died. He weeps because it pains him that not all will come to believe in him as the Son of the Father, the Resurrection, and the Life.
So where do we stand as we approach the threshold of Holy Week? Do we only believe in Jesus because of what others have told us of him, the God who remains within the Church walls on Sunday and has no relevance for us in life? Or do we dig a little deeper into the gift of faith, to discover the one who rolls away from the stone of our lives, the stagnant and often times dead aspects of our life and with his voice that created all that is good, calls us into newness of life WITH HIM. He calls us, by our name, out of the dark places of our lives to come forth and live in Him who is the resurrection.
The Gospel takes it one step further. Jesus not only calls us out. He calls others to unbind us. We need the Church to help us in unbinding those things that keep us from Christ. Namely, being in community, hearing the Word proclaimed, celebrating Eucharist, and living out the Sacraments.