Yesterday's Gospel is impossible to unpack in a simple blog post! We could look at how it's a primo example of Jesus' humanity and divinity; or Thomas' bravery in going with Jesus to Judaea even though he thought they would all die if they did; or the power of friendship. Instead I want us to get ready for the Resurrection. If you want a refresher on what the heck I'm talking about you can find the Gospel and all of last Sundays readings here: http://www.catholic.org/bible/daily_reading/
We are getting to the pointy end of Lent, Jesus is about to take his ride on the donkey and it all happens at a cracking pace from there. Before we know it Jesus has been crucified and resurrected! You might have given up on your Lenten fast after a harrowing or half-assed attempt (no judgement here, I've broken mine more than once). Maybe you are still standing strong in whatever you've sacrificed, but your counting down the seconds until you can have sugar, alcohol, social media etc. Either way, my point today is, the Resurrection is coming. Are you ready?
This Gospel is another way that God tries to get the message through that he does not want death for us. God wants nothing but freedom and life to it's fullest for each and every one of us. He wants us to share in the Resurrection. The tricky part of all this is that to resurrect, you first need to die. This is the scary part. I'm about to tell you a little personal story so make yourself a cuppa and get cosy...
I am a creature of comfort. I love to feel that everything in life is just dandy and fine. You know, sunshine and unicorns and cupcakes. The problem is my life (and I feel that I can safely presume, everyone else's) isn't like this. I've had my fair share of trials, tantrums and tears. Out of my desire to be 'comfortable' I wouldn't always feel capable of dealing with these things head on. Quite often, starting from my early teen years, I would use alcohol to escape from dealing with the reality of my life. It's a pretty Aussie coping mechanism and for years I didn't see anything wrong with this. I was down, so I would rally some drinking buddies and try to let my hair down and have a good time. Some times it worked. Mainly it didn't. Usually it created more discomfort in my life and left me with a lighter wallet.
A couple of years ago I started to awaken to how messed up this was and I felt like I was only getting worse. I started to feel a gentle invitation, a tug at my heart, that there was a better way. I knew though that this required something of me. It required me to die to my need for comfort and a dream life. It required me to get comfortable with being uncomfortable at times and with dealing with the 'mess' of life. There are moments where this is incredibly painful and raw. In these moments I glimpse the crucifixion.
Do you know what I found when I stopped trying to escape my problems by numbing out with booze? Freedom; a deeper sense of who I am; a pride in how I had fought, with God, to become a whole woman; peace; and most profoundly, I found and am finding the resurrection.
Just like Lazarus though I had to walk out of my tomb. Jesus invited me to rise and I did, but he did not carry me like a helpless, broken soul. He invited me to walk out of my tomb like a healed, strong, woman with so much of life yet to be lived.
That is just one area of my life and I'm sure there will be many others that call me to walk in Lazarus' footsteps of death and life. Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Yes. Freedom is ALWAYS worth it. How do you want to share in the resurrection this Easter? Start thinking...it's coming quickly!
In the meantime check out this worship song that sums it all up perfectly: