In today’s Gospel we are given a beautiful vista into both the humanity and divinity of Jesus. Imagine Jesus weeping at the loss of his good friend...his humanness bursts forth from the pages of the Gospel as he cries out in sorrow, and tears roll down his cheeks...“God wept” for the love of Lazarus!
Even knowing that he could...and would...raise Lazarus! The emotion is raw...fully human... fully divine... at the same time. So what is the message?
The message is that none of us can escape the experiences of the loss, pain and suffering at the death of a loved one. Jesus knows how we feel. The message of today’s Gospel is that God loves us! Our God personally knows the depth of our pain, our suffering and loss, and wants us to understand that death is not the end! And that God is with us in the midst our suffering; we are not alone. Jesus stands with us in our moments of loss and suffering, as surely as he stood with Martha and Mary in their moment of pain and suffering at the death of Lazarus.
Death is a moment of transformation, a movement of our soul entering into eternal life with God, that we have been promised by Jesus Christ.
God wants us to know that death is not final...it is not our master...it is not our end. Today’s Gospel tells us, once and for all, that God is the God of life...and not even death can overpower God’s love for us! St. Paul asks, “oh death, where is your sting...now?” St. Paul can ask this, knowing the answer through his faith in Jesus Christ.
It is in and through the amazing nature of the incarnation of our God that we are saved...through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we are given eternal life.
Death has no hold over us...we are promised eternal life. Even though our bodies wear out, are invaded by disease or struck down by violence...that is not the end for us. We live on! We pass into a new life...life in the fullness of the presence of God.
We will be reunited with all of our loved ones...all of those who have gone before us!
Today’s Gospel shows us that Jesus has the power over life and death...and life wins! We win! Even when it appears to the non-believer that we have lost! Because of God’s lavish love for each one of us, we will not perish, we will live! So in the midst of Lent...as we reflect on our own dying...we are reminded that nothing, not even death, can separate us from the love of God.
How does knowing that I am promised eternal life with God influence my life today? Can others tell by how I live life?