“These three [young girl, widow’s son, Lazarus] to whom he [Jesus] restored life remained mortal. What was left for him to do was to vanquish mortality itself. It was in his own person that he would win so perfect a victory. After he had been put to death, he rose, never to die again, and without having first seen corruption …. What was done in the head will be accomplished in the members. Immortality has been assured to us by Jesus Christ.” (Note 1)
“God calls us, implants divine life in the deepest center of our being at baptism and loves us into growth. This is God’s own place, the deepest place of our being where god is wedded to our spirit, where God can act and give life and free us from all that hampers the true thrust of our will. God creates and gives us freedom as his continuing gift of love, and God alone can influence it from within, in no way violating or diminishing it. Entombed Lazarus is a sign not simply of a certain group of people who had obviously closed their hearts against Jesus, but of each one of us. This tomb is the place of resurrection, and if you believe, you will see the glory of God.” (Note 2)
The thing I find most interesting today, which I’m probably missing a point somewhere, but nonetheless, is when Jesus is told that Lazarus is ill, the disciples don’t want to go and Jesus just says, “Lazarus is dead” (cf Jn 11:1-16). As I read it, I read it through a lens of modern vernacular, and in my mind’s eye I saw Jesus listen to the whining of his apostles, roll his eyes and blurt out, in a loud voice over their whining, “Hey, guys, he’s DEAD! And I have to go show the world God’s glory in his death.” I’m making Jesus out to be more emotional than he probably was, but you’d think by this point the Apostles would understand. But they don’t — and they won’t really until Pentecost. But that’s a different story.
Today’s meditations are about one thing that sets Christians apart form a lot of others — the resurrection. We believe that when we die, our souls separate from our bodies and go to heaven or hell or purgatory. At the end of time will be the resurrection of the body. All will be resurrected and judged. By resurrection, we mean body and soul — they will be resurrected, but in an immortal body vice the mortal one we currently possess (cf CCC 988-1019). Bossuet says it clearly when he says, “What was left for him to do was anguish mortality itself.” Which he did when he rose from the grave in his own resurrection. Paul sums it up very well in his first letter to the Corinthians:
Death is swallowed up in Victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?
(1Cor 15:54-55 (ESV))
It’s interesting if you pay attention, that he readings seem to be running through the Nicene Creed, laying out the foundation of our faith. “I believe in One God … I believe in Jesus Christ … I believe in the Resurrection….” Perhaps that’s a good start for us, to read, really read, the creed and get a better understanding of our faith. (If you’re really feeling like reading, read the Catechism, it lays out the entire creed and explains it in detail.)
1. Jacques-Benigne Bossuet, Meditations for Lent, trans. Christopher O. Blum (Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2013), 130.
2. Maria Boulding, OSB, “God, Come Set Me Free!”. In Renewing Our Discipleship, Daily Reflections on the 2017 Lenten Readings for Mass, ed. Steve Mueller (St Louis, MO: All Saints Press, 2017), 33.