This Sunday I was struck by the Gospel. I was stuck today because what happened is something I often struggle with. In the first part, when Jesus is informed that Lazarus is dying, he tells the Apostles that the illness will not lead to death, but for the glory of God. Next, He tells the Apostles that Lazarus is dead. To me, I would have been hurt by that because I believed Jesus at His word that Lazarus would not die and yet Lazarus did die. This often a problem I have, that I expect Jesus to work in certain ways. It is true that Lazarus didn’t die in the long run but if I was an Apostle I would have left Jesus at this point and I would have not seen the Resurrection. This happens often with us as we are following God. He doesn’t work as we think He should have and we leave Him before we get to see the full outcome of the situation. What started as a tragedy ended as an amazing resurrection experience.
The second thing that really struck me is how powerful the encounter with Jesus actually was, I mean someone came back to life. I think of how many Sundays that we come here and do we really expect anything powerful and amazing to happen? Aren’t we encountering this Sunday the same man who raised up Lazarus from the dead? The same one that people walked miles to see who followed Him into the wilderness without worrying about food? Are we expecting Him to come with power this Sunday to raise the dead? Maybe our faith has died. Maybe we asked for something and nothing happened and so now we have given up and just attended. This is the reason why it is so important to meet Jesus today, to ask Jesus questions and to encounter Him so that our faith, like Lazarus, will come back to life. If we have come into His presence and never experienced His power that is a sad thing and it is reasonable to think that our faith is in danger.
When we encounter the Word of God shouldn’t that be an experience in itself that God has talked to us, shared a life giving message? What did you get out of the readings today? What was God trying to tell you there? Were we afraid to listen, to ask Him to teach us something? What about the sacraments - what did you come to expect from them? What are they going to do to us today? Do we have a desire or a need Our Lord can fulfill? Do we come with faith or do we just come here? What we desire is what God can fulfill. Our encounter with Jesus is meant to bring us back from the dead, to resurrect our faith, hope and love. In this encounter are we expecting, are we ready for God to be in our lives?