Death and New Life
All three readings for this Sunday speak of death. As I write this, death is very real to me since three of my Ursuline sisters died recently, including one this morning. I can not even begin to imagine what new life in Christ means for them. What a surprise that will be for all of us.
The gospel reading is the famous story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. His physical death is an emotional reality for his sisters and even for Jesus. Martha, the practical sister, tells Jesus that Lazarus would not have died had Jesus been with them. Martha sends for her sister Mary, the emotional one, who immediately falls at his feet crying and says to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus sees her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he becomes perturbed and deeply troubled. The sisters have strong faith in Jesus and believe he has power over death. At the tomb, Jesus calls forth Lazarus and he emerges to live again.
There are other messages in this story that go beyond the physical resuscitation of Lazarus. In a spiritual context, Christians believe that we are spiritually dead until we begin to know, love and serve God. We are spiritually dead as long as we choose a selfish, self-centered life without caring for God or others. Just as Mary and Martha believed in the power of Jesus, so too with faith, we can be given new life to live more fully as followers of Jesus. The choice is ours.
“I am the resurrection and the life, whoever believes in me, even if he dies will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
Jesus asks the same question of us. Do we believe this? Do we believe that Jesus can mend all the brokenness and wounds of our lives? Do we believe that Jesus not only offers us resurrection in the future but also the fullness of life now in the present?” The voice of Jesus calls Lazarus, and all of us, back to life—no matter what we have done, and no matter how dead we are or have been. Again, the choice is ours.
In the story, Jesus has others unwrap Lazarus as he comes from the tomb. Living our lives as Christians is not something we do alone. We need others to model full Christian life for us. We need people who support us in our desire to live a holy life. We need to be part of a believing community that reaches out to others in need, a community that includes everyone regardless of who they are.
In what areas of your life do you need new life? Do you believe Jesus can bring you alive spiritually?
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Again, your own interpretations of Scripture continue to inspire me. It is evident that you are open to newness of life in its many forms.