5th Sunday in Lent - Year A - 2nd April 2017
This is the shortest sentence in the whole Bible telling how Jesus wept at the tomb of his friend, Lazarus. Jesus, we are told, ‘loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus’ who lived in Bethany, a place he made his home.
Jesus weeps for me
The name Lazarus means the ‘helpless’ one. It is your name and mine. Today Jesus weeps for you and me, the help-less ones. You and I are in that tomb, bound, addicted to habits and behaviours. Deep down we desire to be new people, free from any sin that clings to us like the soil of the earth.
‘I wouldn’t take him (her) back’
We don’t want our loved ones to die. We storm heaven for a miracle. We suffer that silent anguished pain at the moment of death. We can be angry with God, like Martha and Mary. Both used the same sentence: ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ Yet, after death and after the funeral some will say: ‘I would not take him (her) back’. (This does not apply to all – of course you would want your loved one, your child, your friend, by your side.) It is just that some people have a profound sense even in deep sor-row that their loved one is now with God.
Could I really live with someone who came back from the dead? Could they live with us? Would they not gently whisper to us that there is a life beyond this life, a life with God.
Death no longer has power over us
Today is the last Sunday of Lent. Next Sunday is Palm Sunday. If we no longer wish to be called ‘Lazarus’ the helpless one, this is the time to pray that Jesus will call us forth from our tombs, from all that keeps us in darkness and binds us in our attachments to this world. We would be all the more ready to celebrate Easter Sunday in two week’s time when we are all raised from death to life in Christ.
Fr Michael McCullagh C.M.