Crumbs from the Table of the Word: 5th Sunday in Lent

The message in today’s Gospel is expanded upon by St. Paul when he announces to us that “The Spirit of God has made his home in you” - in such a way that our whole being (bodies as well as soul) has been rejuvenated by the supreme gesture of God’s Spirit residing in us.  In Jesus, God reaches out to ease the loss we experience in the face of death.  The “tender mercy” of our God is revealed by our sharing not only in the death but astoundingly, the resurrection of his Son.  In a word, the gift of new life transcending death becomes the measure of the love of God for humanity and for each of us. 

We can imagine Lazarus as a symbol of people who have given up on life and regard themselves as physically or emotionally dead.  At one particular moment Jesus stands outside the tomb they may have dug for themselves and commands, “Take the stone away”.  He then calls them to ‘come out’ and stand in the light of day.  If we have the courage we can choose, like Lazarus, to obey, or else we can stay dormant in the tomb of our own making. 

Our trust is in this person.  One step towards Jesus and he does the rest - ‘unbind them and let them go free’‘take the cloths from their eyes’ and bring each one into the sunlight of a new relationship with the world around us, with God and with one another.  

Today’s message is impossible to ignore.  The call Jesus makes to us requires a brave and generous response - to stand with him (as Lazarus and his sisters did), so that his Spirit, living in us, can ‘unbind us and let us go free’ to choose anew to love God, the world and one another.