hope gone / unexpected dawn

6 Apr

At our “Community Fare” luncheon today, I will interview in talk show fashion four women who have met and become friends through grief: each has buried her husband.

On this Fifth Sunday of Lent we will use the Raising of Lazarus, with hearty reference to his sisters Martha and Mary, as our conversation prompt. I have prepared eight questions, which I will ask one by one of our panel of believers to help them tell their faith story.

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1. How long have you been without your husband – and – how long was his dying process?

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2. When her brother Lazarus was dying, Martha called for Jesus, and when Lazarus had died, Martha ran to Jesus, all the time knowing that Jesus could change the situation. How did your “running to Jesus” make your situation change?


3. One could guess that, once Lazarus was brought back to this life, Lazarus and his sisters lived life differently after that moment – and that each of them, Lazarus, Martha and Mary, would approach their own death differently. Since your experience of accompanying your husband in his passing, how do you live life differently now and how might you approach your own dying differently when it comes?

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4. Jesus instructed those near Lazarus to untie him and let him go free. How did you untie your husband and let him go free? How has your family and your parish helped to untie you and let you go free?

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5. Lazarus was brought back to this life. Would you want to bring your husband back?

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6. When Lazarus was resuscitated, Martha and Mary were reanimated. What are you doing now, since your husband’s death, that you never did when he was alive or that you would never have thought that you would have done or could have done?


7. In our closing hymn at Mass today, “Jerusalem Our Destiny,” we sang in the fifth verse, “To the tombs I went to mourn the hope I thought was gone / Here among you I awoke to unexpected dawn.” Can you relate to that in any way?


8. Martha put her faith into words. How do you finish the sentence that she began “I have come to believe that …?”

2 Responses to “hope gone / unexpected dawn”

  1. pam hazard April 6, 2014 at 6:58 pm #

    What heartfelt questions– and such insightful answers from these friends connected by their deep loss and their bond to each other through their mourning together. I was struck by the impact that Fr. Rob had on them. One remembered his advent homily and felt a major change took place at that very mass. Another started a grief support group –and the idea came to her the very day he slid into the pew next to her to ask her how she was doing. Yet another mentioned him and deacon Tim attending to her the day her husband died. Our parish is so blessed to be a church where we are called to be church to each other. Blessings to these sweet ladies and thanks be to God for st. Andrew. I have come to believe God shows His love for us through those around us!

  2. Cathy O'Toole April 7, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

    I was taken by the women’s courage, strength and faith. Relying on God is instrumental in surviving such a loss. Their faith was like food providing them with strength they didn’t even know they had in their loss. Their courage to speak before this group was life giving to so many of us. I also loved the fact that by sharing their stories, as painful as it may have been, they shared each other’s load which made their individual load lighter. Very moving day. Thank you so much.

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