Vocation Meditation -
5th Sunday of Lent, 2011
Now a certain man, Lazarus, was ill. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. The sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard this, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha, and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.”
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”
Jesus was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
Then Jesus again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone. “ Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I know that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.
When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth, Jesus said to them, “Unbind him and let him go.”
Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.
John vividly pictures Jesus as the Voice that ‘ wakes the dead’. He is the Resurrection and the Life:
- When sin engulfs us, He offers mercy. Sin brings death. Even if people are dead in sin, even if through their sin they have lost all that makes life worth living, Jesus can make them alive again through His forgiving love. The witness of history tells us that God has brought men and women back to life with the outpouring of His amazing grace.
- When thoughts of death clutch our heart, He removes all fear. Through Jesus Christ we are not journeying to the sunset but to the sunrise. We are not on our way to death but to life, to the arms of a Father who created us and who loves us, to the place we call our home.
- When we enter into a new relationship with God, we become absolutely sure of his love. He is above all, a redeeming Love. All fear vanishes in the light. Faith steps in and becomes hope and blooms in love.
- When we enter into a new relationship with life, we walk in the light. When we accept Jesus’ way, we take his teachings as our direction and guide to a fuller life. We realize Jesus is there to help us, to live as He has lived. Life becomes a new thing. It is clad with loveliness, clothed in wonder, with a new strength even in the midst of sorrow. For those who befriend life, it cannot be ended nor incomplete without passing it on to others as a gift of loving service.
Hence, when we believe in Jesus and accept what He says about God and about life and stake everything on it, in truth, we cannot but be resurrected friends. We will be freed from a sin-ridden life, freed from all fears that characterize a godless life and freed from the futility of a Christ-less life. Christ’s voice is there calling all His friends each day: “Roll the stone away!” “Come out!”
“Lord, he whom you love is ill.”
Are there still traces of fear and doubt in my vocation that Jesus needs to roll away?
You come to bring life to us all who still live with traces of inconsistencies, fears and selfishness each day. Give me strength to roll these stones away. My faith and love need Your healing. Bring me back to life each day. Your Risen Life will be my joy and my victory along my vocation path. Amen.
For the full Gospel reading for this Sunday, visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site.