Sunday, March 9, 2008

Lazarus Come Out!

Fifth Sunday of Lent John 11:1-45

Homily: Lazarus Come Out

Two weeks ago the woman at the well found living water. Last week the blind beggar receives his sight. This Sunday’s gospel reading relates the raising of Lazarus from the dead.

Mary and Martha send word to Jesus that their brother Lazarus is sick. Jesus remains where he was two more days before returning to Judea.

When Jesus arrives he discovers that Lazarus has been dead for four days. The Jews believed that the spirit remained with the body for three days. There was no doubt that Lazarus was dead.

Martha tells Jesus that if he had been there their brother would not have died. Jesus tells her that her brother will be raised. She replies that she understands that he will be raised on the last day.

Martha projected her faith into the future. But Jesus was not talking about the last day. He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead this very day.

We project our faith into the future. We believe that if we are faith full we will find eternal life at the end of our journey. But many are in desperate need of conversion and the freedom conversion brings today.

For we find ourselves trapped in tombs of our own making. The key to freedom is Jesus setting us free. His words are life giving.

Consider our self imposed tombs.

1. SIN – We live each waking moment trying to satisfy the desires of the flesh. The world would like for us to believe that sin is not a problem. That in fact sin no longer exists. You can do as you please as long as we do not harm others.

2. SELF INDULGENCE – The Hollywood crowd are the poster children for living a life of self indulgence. Seems we can’t get enough no matter how much we spend.

3. ADDICTION – Drugs alcohol imprison us in a world of darkness and misery.

4. FEAR – There are many today who fear tomorrow to the point of losing today. The joy of today is lost in what might happen tomorrow.

Jesus asks those present at the grave site to roll away the stone. He was moments away from raising Lazarus from the dead. He did not need help removing the stone. But this request points us to the ministry of the Church. We are to assist the Lord in setting people free.

The stone rolled away Jesus calls Lazarus to come out. Lazarus appears bound hand and foot with a cloth over his face. Jesus instructs those present to set him free.

Jesus called Lazarus to come out. He was bound hand a foot. He faced a challenge and struggle to respond. It was not easy. But he did what was necessary to find life and freedom. The Church stands ready to help one and all who seek true freedom but the first step must be theirs. They must desire to step out.

Have you found yourself imprisoned in a self made tomb today? Jesus wants to set you free. Not only on the last day but today. The stone has been rolled away. He is calling your name.

Step out of the darkness into the light of Christ.