April 6, 2014 - 5th Sunday of Lent, Year A
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
Lazarus is not the only one in a tomb this weekend. He is not the only one who needs to be raised from the dead. He is not the only one who needs to be unbound and set free.
People all around us are bound, chained, shackled, tied up by other people, by circumstances or by an over attachment to things. There are many different kinds of tombs and they aren’t all in the ground.
Some people live in self-appointed tombs. They even roll the stone in front of the entrance themselves.
Many of us suffer this kind of death without even realizing it, a sort of spiritual or emotional death. Some of us are bound as bound can be and we need to be untied and set free.
There are children who are bound. They are unloved, unwanted, abused, neglected, hungry and desperate.
They never know who mommy is going to bring home this weekend or when the next slap is coming. Who will stand before them and cry out: “Untie them and let them go free”?
There are young people chained by peer pressure. They feel forced to be this person or that, depending upon which crowd they’re with, unable to express individuality for fear of being rejected.
And then there are those who are bullied because they are different. Who will stand before them and say: “Be yourself and you will be free”?
There are addicts and dealers, ruining their lives and the lives of others, bound as bound can be, crying out: Untie me and let me be free! Who will help them?
There is a much more subtle type of addiction that is finding its way into our lives. It is the grave of porn and the sex trade.
Our college students are putting their naked selfies and sex videos online via mobile phones at an alarming rate and their parents don’t have a clue. They are literally digging their own graves.
Who is going to hire them after their indiscretions go viral?
There are those living in broken relationships and those simply living together with no relationship. Their lives are torn apart by cohabitation, separation and divorce. Is this freedom? Who will release them?
There are teenagers and young adults who want so much to hear: I love you. They seek intimacy and tenderness and acceptance through sexual expression long before they are ready. Who will stand before them and say: “Not in my house!”? Inappropriate, immature, underage sexual activity is slavery to guilt and shame. It is not freedom.
There are those who suffer from gender identity issues, being told time and time again by the church they love that they are objectively disordered. Who will stand before them and who will stand before the bishops of the church to remind them that none of God’s children are objectively disordered?
There are those who suffer from mental illness, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, or Alzheimer’s. These folks desperately want to feel well, to be happy, to remember again, to smile again. Who will raise them from depths of despair to the joy of new life?
And what about all those who are bound by other things?
False values, what the media tries to sell us, life in the fast lane, things only money can buy. Who is going to stand before them and cry out: “Untie them and let them go free”?
Then there is the great cry of those bound by poverty, those who are hungry and homeless. Pope Francis stands before us and says, set them free.
All these people are in their tombs. They long for new life.
They need to be released just as much as Lazarus.
Jesus stands before these people crying: Come Out!
Then says to us, Untie them and let them go free.
We are these people: Helpless, frustrated, bound up, decaying, blind, deaf, the living dead.
That’s how Jesus found his friend Lazarus. And he wept. The people said: Oh, look how he loved him. Then Jesus said: Roll the stone away. But the people said: Oh no! Leave well enough alone. Don’t mess with things. Don’t change things.
Jesus said: Roll that stone away.
Then he commanded: Lazarus come out!
We’d rather stay in our self appointed graves instead of having to change our ways. But that’s not truly living.
Jesus wants us to have new life. Jesus cries out to us:
Come out of your graves and live.
Are we even listening?