Lazarus is one my two favorite stories from the Gospels. This story is the first scripture I deliberately memorized. The first time I read the Raising of Lazarus it was as if I was reading the story of my life.
Time and time again I have found myself dead, bound, rotting and in a tomb behind a stone that I couldn't move even if I tried. Sometimes I didn't even realize it until I have one of those moments that we all have from time to time. One of those moments where in the darkness of our distance from the Lord we hear him weeping and all of a sudden we see our wretched state. We know where we are and we hope and pray that God will role away this stone, unbind us and restore us to the life of relationship with Him.
We all find ourselves in the tomb from time to time. It could be from sin, it could be from indifference, doubt or any manner of darkness. You will find yourself in that tomb and you will see the stone roll away. My prayer is that when the Lord says, "Come forth!" you will rise and come out and embrace the wonderful life our Lord has called you to.
I am the resurrection and the life...
Not too many people can say this but I once spent 10:30pm on Christmas Eve until 6:30am Christmas day in front of an abortion clinic singing Christmas Carols and praying with a few slightly liberal nuns. (Don‘t ask me why liberal nuns were there. I always wonder myself and no it was not a dream. I know this because when I dream of nuns they are always in full habit and kneeling.) Inbetween some of the prayers, we started a conversation and one of them mentioned she was close friends with a famous dissident theologian: Fr. Charles Curran. She told me how great a person he was and what a great contributor to the Church he was and how he had gotten so mistreated and misjudged by the Church. (He was disciplined for his teaching about contraception.) One of the things she said was, “To make a man give up his duties as a Priest and stop teaching because he has “different” beliefs is close-minded. That’s not what “my Jesus” is like.” “My Jesus” It is almost an unbroken rule that if someone starts talking about “My Jesus” and they emphasize the word “My” then what follows will be a load of bull. There is only one Jesus and usually to emphasize the word “my” in front of His name means their idea of who He is differs from the real thing.
I take serious offense to this. Why? Because Jesus changed my life. Jesus was the Son of God who called the apostles, healed Peter’s mother in-law, raised Lazarus from the dead, fed the 5,000 and then died and rose again all because He loved us so passionately. That same Jesus calls, heals and feeds me on a daily basis and he quite literally raised me from a death of sin and darkness. I take offense because I know who Jesus is and I know that He lives today and isn’t just some sage who preached about love and butterflies and then died. He doesn’t just live on in us He lives! He is Life! I take serious offense to this because I know He can change the lives of everyone who meets Him but they have to meet Him, the real Him.
Jesus is not so much mine; I am His. And I want to know the real person because the real, living Jesus changed my life.
Are you worried that your idea of who Jesus is isn’t real? In a certain sense we all go through this. The more we get to know Him the more it changes.
Here are just a few ideas to help you to get to know the real Jesus:
Pope John Paul the Great
Dave VanVickle is a Catholic speaker and writer focusing on the Universal Call to Holiness and Authentic Catholic Spirituality. He is currently employed as the Director of Evangelization for the parishes of the Catholic Community of Wexford, PA.