We always know he’ll come through Bethany sometime before the Passover Feast. His mother and father brought him on the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem when he was a child. That was how we met him. His mother Mary was like a mother to me and my siblings. When they came through Bethany, she would walk into this home and cook up a storm. We felt like royalty when mother Mary came to Bethany.
Preparing the Seder meal is no easy task. Each aspect of our preparations require tender care and exquisite attention. The seder is a precious reminder of the time when our Jewish ancestors were living in exile and God’s love provided food, comfort and eventually freedom. That night, we were beginning the preparations for Passover when Jesus arrived. His mother wasn’t with him this time. When he walked in he seemed distracted and tense. Although even when he was distracted, he was so very present, so it’s hard to say that he was distracted. Martha was in the back preparing food for the meal and Lazarus was resting when he surprised us at the doorway. Instantly, like a flock of clucking hens, we ran into his arms…..
In both our scripture passages today, Jesus is dying.
There it was – hope right in front of them. Jesus was dying with hope, for everyone “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am there will my servant be also.” He was pointing to the resurrection; speaking about love that endures all things, even death.
While the season of Lent dwells on the issue of human hardships and suffering, as experienced by Jesus and all his followers, there is always reason for hope. Love, enduring unending love, is the reason. And love such as this is Easter-love!
And so on this fifth Sunday of Lent, in all its human authenticity, let us hold onto hope confident that Easter is on its way.