The hope of the Resurrection is the central
The image of dry bones given Ezekiel writes about in our first reading, may well have come from an actual battle site -- probably after the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon in 586 BC.
In the second reading, St. Paul reassures the Romans of a future resurrection to a life of unending glory for all those who during their time on earth have been loyal to God and His Son Jesus. This coming resurrection is won for us by the suffering, death and Resurrection of Jesus. Paul advises the Roman Christians to allow the Holy Spirit who dwells in them to renew and sanctify them, thus making them eligible for resurrection. “If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit dwelling in you.”
In the Gospel, of all the miracles Jesus did, the raising of Lazarus ranks as the most astonishing to the people of his time.
For the early Christians the story of Lazarus was more than an indication of the future resurrection of Jesus. Jesus rose on the third day; his body never saw corruption. For them this miracle is a challenge to never give up hope even in the most discouraging of situations. It is never too late for God to revive and revitalise a person, a church or a nation. But first we must learn to cooperate with God.
How can we cooperate with God so as to experience Christ's resurrection in our own lives and in our own world? Faith.
John's Gospel begins with a wedding and closes with a funeral. There are four primary characters in this story: Jesus and three siblings who were good friends of Jesus, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. Jesus loved these friends. The funeral rituals of Jesus’ day were different from ours. When somebody died, there was no embalming. Instead, the body was wrapped in linen and, before sunset on the day of death, was put into the burial vault -- a cave carved into limestone rock – often with myrrh, frankincense and perfumes. Then there was intense mourning for seven days followed by a less intense mourning period of twenty-three days. Lazarus’ sisters had sent word to Jesus that their brother Lazarus was ill and perhaps would soon die.
"Roll away the stone, unbind him and let him go.” There are so many dark areas in our private lives. We often bind ourselves with chains of
"Lazarus, come out!’ and the dead man came out.” We do not know what transpired in the tomb. All we know is that Jesus is immediately obeyed. Lazarus gropes his way out of the dark tomb even with his face, hands and feet tied up in bandages. Even a man rotting away in the tomb can still do something to help himself.
The third command again is addressed to the people, “Unbind him, and let him go.” Even though Lazarus could stumble out of the tomb, there was no way he could unbind
Many individuals and communities have fallen victim to the death of sin. Many are already in the tomb of hopelessness and decay, in the bondage of sinful habits and attitudes, in the bondage of tribalism, clannisim and nepotism. Nothing short of a miracle can bring us back to life in Christ. Jesus is ready for the miracle. He himself said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10).
Are we ready to roll away the stone that stands between us and the light of Christ’s face? Are we ready to unbind (i.e. forgive) one another and let them go free?
Have a blessed week.