The Raising of Lazarus

There are several themes worth reflecting on in today’s readings: Resurrection, New Life, Faith, Trust, Friendship, Grief, the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit and central to them all: JESUS; His humanity and divinity.

When Jesus got the urgent news that his friend was dying, we know from our own experience that his immediate wish must have been to drop everything and run to be there at his friend’s bedside, to hold his hand, to say goodbye and to support the two sisters who were so devastated. Yet Jesus waited two days knowing he would probably be too late to do any of the above. He waited and when he did arrive he was so overcome by grief that he wept when he realized that Lazarus was really dead.

In today’s post Resurrection account Jesus knew there would be a happy ending, so no need to hurry. But as the events actually occurred we can imagine him, torn by grief, wanting to be with his friends in their hour of need but at the same time listening deeply to God’s Spirit within Him and so ignoring his own wishes and the expectations of others; “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus believed and trusted that despite the odds, all would be well because the voice he was listening to was that of the Spirit.

This glimpse of Jesus can be so helpful for us. When we are torn by conflicting voices and have to decide, not between right and wrong, but what’s best to do, it is the inner voice, the voice of the Spirit in our gut that will lead us to the choice that will be life giving, that will perhaps lift us from a grave-like situation and plant us in new soil where we will flourish: “I will raise you from your graves and resettle you in your own soil and put my Spirit in you and you will live.”

Mary Oliver captures this deep listening in “The Journey”:

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice…

But little by little
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognised as your own…

Loving, Life-giving God, thank you for your Word of hope in today’s Scripture. Thank you for the realisation that grave-like situations are not hopeless but in some mysterious way will give glory to you. Your Spirit has made her home in us and when we listen deeply to her voice we are led, guided and supported, as Jesus was.  Then we experience being lifted from our graves and being replanted in new soil where we can flourish and give you Glory.

Marie Redmond. OP