Sunday 2nd April 2017

About Today Readings

SUN 2ND. Fifth Sunday of Lent. Ek37:1-14; Rm 8:6-11; Jn 11:1-45.

‘At the sight of Mary’s tears, and those of the Jews who followed her, Jesus said in great distress, with a sigh that came straight from the heart, “Where have you put him?” They said, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.’ John 11:33-35

Two pieces of trivia: ‘Jesus wept’ is not only the shortest verse in the whole Bible, it also comes exactly halfway through the Gospel of John. More importantly, for much of this Gospel Jesus is serenely in control of every situation he encounters, but at the sight of Mary’s tears he becomes so distressed that he weeps. In this pivotal moment Jesus’ humanity and vulnerability and empathy could not be more plainly evident. And yet, just a moment later, Jesus’ divinity and power over death could not be more plainly evident: he draws Lazarus back from the tomb and back into life.

The Gospel does not deny the reality of suffering and pain. These cannot be avoided, no matter how secure I try to make myself. To live is to be vulnerable, and to love is to give one’s life over to another. This is the human condition. What the Gospel is trying to tell us is that this human condition is also a place where we can find divine love, even beyond death. As I think of my dying loved one, who possibly has only one or two weeks to live, I pray ‘Lord, I am in the thrall of death, come and see’. I feel Jesus’ tears join my tears. I join my small hope in divine love to Jesus great hope in divine love.

In these final two weeks of Lent the tension between the ways of the world and the Word of Jesus is raised to breaking point. I will walk with Jesus, terrified, but as close as I can.

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