Reflecting on John 11:1-45 or 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33b-45
Through the years I have had the great privilege to visit the Holy Land many times, but the only souvenir I have ever kept from my pilgrimages hangs on my wall, directly over my parent’s wedding picture of October 31, 1938. They smile out at me, these two young, beautiful, hopeful newlyweds, in the everyday clothes common to Depression-era weddings of the day.
Could they have imagined what the future would hold? The war in Europe was just getting going. They and everyone they knew would be changed by it. In ten years their children would finally arrive, and eventually their robust youth would give way to middle age. They would lose their parents and their siblings. They would raise their children in the faith, and that faith would sustain them when their own son went off to war.
The beautiful bride and groom are gone now. But their children live on, remembering them, loving them, knowing that at our own deaths we will see them again. When Lazarus heard the voice of Jesus call him out of the cave he climbed, climbed up from his dark tomb. I’ve seen that tomb. I have taken a torch and climbed down into its belly, and imagined the sound of Jesus, calling into its depths Lazarus! Come out! And the dead man came out.
So it was from here that I carried home my sole souvenir, a small mosaic that says “Bethany”. It keeps watch over the young newlyweds on the wall, and all their children and grandchildren, whose pictures surround them now. When our earthly bodies lie in death we’ll find an everlasting dwelling place in heaven.
What do you think it must have been like for Lazarus to come out of that tomb?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).