April 2, 2017 - 5th Sunday of Lent, Year A
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
Lazarus is in the tomb. He is dead. His body is decaying. It is finished. Lazarus’s body already reeked of decomposition when Jesus ordered that the stone be rolled away.
And as bleak as the situation looks, Lazarus is raised up again. Jesus stands at the entrance of the tomb, calls out to him and gives him another chance.
We die inside. Things in our lives happen to us that leave us looking like the walking dead, decaying, finished.
Some people have given up on life, so much so that they just as soon be placed in a tomb.
All too often when we hear this Gospel miracle, we focus on the ways that we die:
Our our poor self image, poor self esteem and lack of self acceptance; our poor communication skills which lead to messed up relationships.
Our national addiction to pornography and our need to post naked selfies on instagram and the internet.
Rampant drug addiction decimating many communities; death of family and friends which leads to grief stricken depression.
Our own sickness or the illness of someone we love; unemployment or underemployment or financial troubles.
I’m sure there are many other ways we can shrivel up and die inside. We can’t sleep. We can’t eat. We feel sad or angry or lost or confused. We are numb. We are empty inside.
Instead of focusing on how we die, we should focus on ways that we can reach out, take Jesus by the hand and rise again. This should be our earnest desire these last two weeks of Lent.
Jesus raises us up again and gives us another chance. Jesus calls us to new life. Jesus’ healing power challenges us to focus on ways we rise again.
And it doesn’t have to be some great thing. It can be simple things really: hugs, smiles, good deeds which lead to greater kindness, charity, joy.
Lending a helping hand or saying encouraging word or some other nice thing costs us very little and fills the world with more love.
Lazarus is unbound, unwrapped. So are Martha and Mary. They were lost is anger and grief. They are also healed and given new life again.
Lazarus begins again. Martha begins again. Mary begins again. Let us begin again. Let us make a fresh start.
Jesus calls us out of the tomb to start over. Jesus calls us out of the tomb to reboot. Jesus calls us out of the tomb to refresh and renew and recreate ourselves.
If there is anything holding us back from this new beginning, it is not the Lord. He calls us out of the darkness of the tomb.
We hold ourselves back. We live in fear. We live in shame. We live in grief. We wallow in sickness.
But this is not what Jesus desires. Jesus desires new life. Jesus stands on the threshold of the mess we’ve made and cries out to each of us:
Come out and begin again. Come forth and have new life.