This year, it feels like we are Lazarus, standing in the door of his tomb, tasting dust, still smelling of aloes and myrrh with which he was embalmed… Still straining to see through his eyes that were recently sealed. After this year of pandemic, he stands as an image of hope as we begin looking at a post-pandemic world and world view. Pope Francis said in an “Urbi et Orbi” blessing last March to an empty rain-soaked St. Peters Square, it is “God’s call on people to judge what is most important to them and resolve to act accordingly from now on.
In his prayer, the pope said that “it is not the time of “your” judgment, but of “our” judgment: a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not. It is a time to get our lives back on track with regard to you, Lord, and to others.”
Jesus goes over the edge in the final of his signs in John’s Gospel. He raises from apparent death his dearest friend and gives us a picture of what God might have for us on the other side of this. “This illness is not to end in death, Jesus says. But …”it is for the glory of God.” What could he mean by this? Human goodness is showing though in miraculous ways; divine glory in beautiful self-giving.
Not so strange a perspective,” from now on.” We get raised up all the time, “resurrected” in a lot by interaction with Jesus of Nazareth. If you were an eyewitness on the day when Jesus called Lazarus back to life, any thought on your reaction? Would we have believed with our own eyes? Or “exited stage left” as fast as our little legs could carry us. I wonder if that would have left me standing there like a corpse, just trembling and terrified?
A funeral director recently called a man for further instructions about his mother-in-law’s body. “Do you want her embalmed, cremated or buried?” “All three!’” the man answered promptly. “Don’t take any chances.” Many times, we do not risk when it comes to death.
What a Springtime Lent has emerged this year. What now needs to be “unbound and set free” in our Catholic community and our country…or just snorted at in the very perturbed-ness of God at our wounded earth? We are invited in this final week of Lent ‘21 to imagine what the other side of this Pandemic might be. It could change the world.
Holy Week is soon on us and all are invited to the Sacred Triduum of three Holy days here at the Basilica. Our schedule of liturgies and devotions are in the bulletin and posted on our parish website. We are pleased to offer some things in Spanish. With new strains of the virus moving into our state, we will continue masking, sanitizing and social distancing. Confessions are available in next Saturday’s 3PM Penance service and by appointment with our friar priests. We will continue on-line activities and hybrids. This year we can linger about the Easter mysteries from a different perspective. We stand with those who have lost loved ones, employment and economic security. Like our dear Lazarus we strain to see what our new world looks like and what will be asked of us.
A gentle week.
Fr. Michael Weldon, OFM