On this fifth Sunday of Lent, the entrance antiphon makes us pray, “Give me justice, O God, and plead my cause against a nation that is faithless…” (Ps.43,1)
Indeed, we are getting more and more a faithless generation, while still having faithful families and a few faithful friends. Except for the Apostles and disciples, all around Jesus are people who have no faith whatsoever. They are seeing miracles almost every day, yet they are still requesting some extraordinary signs. Nowadays you wonder if people are believing in miracles. They can find an explanation to anything extraordinary. They so want to take God out of the picture that they find a scientific answer to everything. 
On the other hand, this man, Lazarus, Jesus raised from the dead, was a member of a very fine and Christian family: Lazarus and his two sisters, Martha and Mary. They believed in Jesus and we can see the depth of their faith in the dialogue between Martha, Mary and Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would have not died.” And Jesus to tell them, “If you believe, you will see the glory of God.” These people give us an example of a deep faith, total adherence and trust, and confidence in the One sent by God. As a result, the Gospel passage ends by saying, “Many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in Jesus.”
The third important fact to keep in mind is that the members of this faithful family were good friends of Jesus. Bethany were they lived means, “The friend’s house.” Very often when Jesus would be going to Jerusalem, He would stop there with his disciples, and the three would welcome him and happily share with him and his crew one or more meals. They were friends He could count on any time.
How many of us choose good friends that really can help us when we need? Most of the time, people are looking for affluential instead of influential friends. Friends like Lazarus, Martha and Mary helped Jesus a lot. After a long tiring day, Jesus would enjoy a peaceful and relaxing night with his best friends and start the next day with new vigor. Friends like that are angels sent by God.
When I was in the Seminary, two and a half years short of being ordained a priest, the premises were one day occupied by the Military, by order of the government, with instructions to drive our Jesuit teachers to the Airport and take the Seminarians to their respective native place. The Seminary then was locked up with no opening date in sight. A priest from Canada came by some months later and offered to help some of us to travel to Canada and continue our studies. We got some good friends who helped us pay for our tuition, invite us to their homes during our vacation and got ordained priests. We were able, thanks to these wonderful friends, to have a very nice party after our first Mass and we think of these people as having offered us like a Bethany, a house of friends, where we enjoyed support and love in times of great need.
Many of our family members and friends are loosing hope because of the decrease of faith in today’s society. Wouldn’t you like to be a beacon of light to someone or some people and help them cross the barren desert? Don’t get discouraged, “If you believe, you will see the glory of God.”
Father Danis Ridore