Monday, March 10, 2008

"And Jesus wept."

I love this gospel. Even though it's Monday and the Church offers a new gospel for our prayer this morning, I am still lost in the bounty of Sunday's scripture - still pondering the many graces of His late return to Bethany.

First, GOD allowed Lazarus to die. If Jesus has returned sooner and healed him of his illness, we would not have seen the power of GOD at work through the Son. Second, Jesus wept. The Son of the living GOD cried for his friend forever sanctifying our tears of sorrow and grief. Three simple words - the shortest of scriptures - but what a gift! And last, Martha's expression of faith in the midst of her terrible grief. Our Jewish brothers and sisters have a beautiful liturgical practice. A person who is mourning prays a special prayer in synagogue for one year after the death of a loved one. If there are many grieving, they all stand together. The prayer is an act of praise. Even in the suffering of loss GOD is to be praised and glorified. The mystery of death and resurrection is beyond our understanding. But it is our faith in that mystery that makes the human journey possible - gives meaning even in the face of overwhelming sorrow.

When people we love are taken from us in death, may we trust that GOD has a plan for their blessing - and for ours. May we weep with abandon for ourselves and know that Christ the Lord knows our sorrow. And may we, like Martha, stand firm in our faith even as we struggle to embrace the ultimate mystery of the human condition. Even in our grief may we praise the GOD who raised Lazarus from the dead and promises the very same to each of us through Christ.

Blessings and love to you all...

- Sister Vicki