Imagine a fish who spent her entire life under the sea and then is hooked by a fisherman and is pulled up out of the water. For one moment she glimpses this world of light and color that she had never imagined possible. Then, she wriggles off the hook and falls back into the water.
“I saw that world up there,” she cried. “I never even knew that it existed! And compared to that, this ordinary world seems like nothing to me.”
We can get so wrapped up in work, family problems, and our hopes and our dreams. Thank you, Lord, for the reminder that there is more out there!
Today’s Gospel is a touching story that shows Jesus’ genuine love for us. We are shown just how human Jesus was, how much He loved His friends, and His heartfelt desire for their good. He wept with those who wept.
Our faith is that Jesus cares for us in this same way. He loves us and desires our good. He desires for us the life we can have if we only accept his invitation to “come out!” Come out of whatever tomb you are in today.
There are tombs throughout this life --- tombs of worry about our children, mourning the loss of a loved one, a job, a home, or our health. There are tombs of addiction, habits of sin, helplessness, hopelessness --- as we struggle to be good --- and fail. Thanks be to God there is help! There is hope! Jesus!
Jesus calls us to come out!
There are no easy answers to life’s pain and sufferings when the ultimate solution lives in Jesus. That’s what we learn from this Gospel. That’s what we learn each Lent.
A woman says, “I didn’t ask for cancer. I’m in pain. I don’t understand.” A man says, “I spoke out of anger and said some pretty nasty things to my wife. I wish I could take back those words. They really hurt her.”
Check-in with Jesus and have a daily heart-to-heart talk with him. Talk about what you’re going through --- like Martha and Mary did. Never sell God short! Share everything going on in your life with Him, as well as your feelings. Turn everything over to Him --- even death. Ask Him to guide you through the mess so that you can reach the resurrection. Then listen. He’ll give you the wisdom, the stamina, the direction that you need.
Our heart-to-heart with Jesus can’t be, “Thanks, I’ll get back to you when the next problem hits.” Our prayer needs to be always, on-going. That’s what makes us disciples, Christians, not just an audience. That’s why Jesus is God-with-us, Lord and Savior, not a magician.
During these last two weeks of Lent, make a list of the ways that God has lifted you out of your “tombs” in the past and share it with others who are still in the dark.
Fr. Mark Zacker