The Marks Post: ‘Lazarus, come out’
Even though Masses have been cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak, I’ve still been keeping up with the daily readings. As I was reading them last week, I’ve noticed they seem very appropriate for the times we live in. They give us comfort in these trying times.
Take for example the first reading last Saturday from the book of the Prophet Hosea: “Come, let us return to the Lord, it is he who has rent, but he will heal us; he has struck us, but he will bind our wounds.” Then, look at the Responsorial Psalm from Sunday, which was Psalm 23.
This “trend,” if you will, continues this Sunday with what is probably my favorite Gospel passage. It comes from John 11:1-45, and is the raising of Lazarus.
For those of you not familiar with the story, Lazarus is the brother of Martha and Mary. The three live in Bethany and have become close friends with Jesus. Mary had been the one who anointed Christ’s feet with oil and dried them with her hair.
Martha and Mary, in the story, send word to Jesus that Lazarus is sick. After two days, Jesus decides to visit Lazarus, however, by the time He gets there, Lazarus has died and is in a cave.
When He gets there, Mary tells Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus responds very beautifully by saying: “I AM the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”
The exchange between Mary and Jesus continues. Later in the story, Jesus orders the stone in front of the cave to be rolled away. He then prays to His Father and bellows: “Lazarus, come out!”
Lazarus, then comes out of the cave with his hands and feet tied with the burial bonds.
Here is how this Gospel story applies for us today in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.
Many of us are self-quarantining ourselves because of the virus, and our esteemed governor has issued a stay-at-home order. We can debate the merits of this order later. At least we can still go out and walk our dogs. That was sarcasm, but I digress.
The point is this, because of the virus, we are like Lazarus and are in deep, dark, and cavernous caves isolated from the rest of the world in fear of catching and/or spreading the virus.
Well, Jesus is crying out to us like He cried out to Lazarus: “Come out!”
Not only is He the resurrection and the life. He is also the bread of life; He is the light of the world; He is the door; He is the good shepherd; He is the way, the truth, and the life; He is the true vine; and is the eternal I AM.
In about two weeks, Jesus will be laid in His own cave after being crucified for our sins. That is not the end of the story because He will rise out from the cave two days later. He will be calling us out of our caves to be with His resurrected body. I don’t know what side of the cave you will be on, but I know where I will be.