… 40 41 “Lazarus, come out!” 44 I thank you for hearing me. 42 I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43
45 46 47 48 and take away both our land and our nation.”
The world never changes. Just about every time Jesus does something out of the ordinary, someone has something bad to say about it. Every time a human being does something good in our world, someone will find something negative about it. As is very evident here, the raising of His great friend Lazarus did not produce an exception to the divisiveness among the eye witnesses. Two ideas came to me this morning during the proclamation of the Gospel story.
1. Why did the Church decide to cut the reading off before verse 45?
2. This is one moment in the Gospel when Jesus asks the witnesses
to help the one being brought back to normal living. Every other time it is the beneficiary alone who puts himself (herself) together and moves on.
I noticed this morning that to a critical listener the picture of this miracle can cause some mental static. It says that Lazarus comes out of the grave bound hand and foot. Now, in the context, after having come out, people are asked to remove his bonds. I asked myself, “So how did he come out in the first place?” After a few short moments, I stopped being sarcastic and my heart moved on to reflecting about the desire of Jesus to involve the witnesses in the freeing of the newly revivified man.
My reflection revolved around the mystery of God wanting us, His creatures, to help Him spread the news of His love for us around the community. He wants us to be aware that He is not here just for me, personally, but for me and all those around me. He wants us to live in the awareness that not only do we depend on Him to save us, personally, but we all have something to offer to each other in the process of salvation. God, through His incarnate Word is telling us that He expects us to collaborate with Him in helping fellow members of His family, as well as ourselves, on the road to salvation. We are all witnesses to the exit of Lazarus from the tomb. We are all expected to help one another shed the bonds of eternal death. We do that by keeping ourselves righteous in our relationship with Jesus so that we can efficiently help our neighbor stay righteous and join us on the way.
Our Mother, Mary, when she was talking to the two children before her at La Salette in France, said very clearly, “If you do not submit I will be forced to let the arm of my Son fall. I have been holding His arm back for so long. It keeps getting heavier and heavier and if this continues I will have to let it go.”
In both cases, at the tomb of Lazarus and at La Salette, the call for help doesn't require outrageous heroics. All that is required is simple action. In both cases all that we are being asked is common sense and polite living. At the tomb, “unbind him.” At La Salette, “Pray well. Say one Our Father and one Hail Mary every day. When you have time, say more.” She could have said, “Do more” but she didn't. I say, “We should.”
Now, if you have been reading along carefully, you’re saying to yourself, “Hey, this dude didn't listen to the homily.” Yeah, you’re right. I missed most of it. I guess I slanted off into my own thoughts when the priest was explaining that Jesus cried while He was being scolded for not having come sooner after getting the news that Lazarus was not well. Could be, I guess. I like my reflection better.
Now you know for sure that no one will have either the need or the inclination to cry at my funeral.