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29 March 2009

Today's Gospel (for some of us)

If you used the Cycle A Readings today -- because you celebrated the Third Scrutiny -- you heard the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.  If not, do yourself a huge favor and flip back through it.  What a wonderful story.

"Untie him and let him go."  

What a great line from Jesus we hear.  It really cuts to the core of one's existence as a Catholic.  In this statement, we get to hear in Jesus' own words, what he has promised to do for us.  He clearly calls us from all of the many small things which tie us up - and end up turning into big things! - into a new and better life.  Though Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead, he did not promise his friend a life on this earth without end.  No, we must realize that Lazarus would die again.  However, Jesus does something more profound in this story than to just restore Lazarus' corporeal existence.  Jesus emphatically testifies to his willingness to untie us from the many things which hold us bound - even at the risk of his own life.  A risk, it might be added, that will result in his own death.

In fact, in this passage from John, Jesus gives a clue to both his humanity and divinity.  On one hand, we see Jesus being "perturbed" and weeping.  The Greek used to describe Jesus' emotion suggests a deep wrenching of the heart.  We might say that this experience was gut-wrenching for Jesus.  Fully overcome with emotion, Jesus is compelled to reveal himself fully to all those around him.  And, by doing so, Jesus irrevocably turns to his death on the cross.  He has played all his cards, he has shown who he is.  He has signed his own death warrant.  

But in fully manifesting his humanity, Jesus also reveals his divinity as God's own son.  Here we have Jesus raising flesh from the tomb and doing so in such a way as to clearly reveal the Father's will and plan.  Jesus has come in flesh to give tactility to the One who creates and pours out his love for us over and over again.     

Pretty amazing stuff this God of ours does for us over and over again, eh?

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