Reflection for Monday, March 29, 2021: Monday of Holy Week.

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Crawford, David
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2021-03-29
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What a powerful set of verses we have today!  With all that is going on, it could be easy to lose sight of Lazarus, but this is an individual who deserves our attention.  He certainly had the attention of the Jewish leaders.|The Gospel reading today summarizes all we know about Lazarus.  Lazarus was the brother of Mary and Martha.  He was a friend and follower of Jesus.  He died, and four days later Jesus raised him from the dead. He welcomed Jesus into his home, and was present when Mary anointed the feet of Jesus with oil and Judas Iscariot objected. |Other than that, we know very little.*  We don't even have insight into his thoughts since the Scriptures do not record Lazarus speaking.|For quite a while, my mental image of Lazarus was like a picture from a child's Bible storybook: A grungy looking guy, draped in bandages and in need of a bath, standing on a hill outside a cave.  My appreciation for Lazarus has grown in recent years, in part because of The Saint John's Bible.  For several years, I was blessed with the opportunity to work closely with a Heritage Edition of The Saint John's Bible that is housed in the Rare Books Room of Reinert-Alumni Memorial Library while Mike and Nancy McCarthy have loaned it to our university.** |Raising of Lazarus, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2002, The Saint John's Bible, Saint John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA.|Used by permission.  All rights reserved.|Donald Jackson's "Raising of Lazarus" is the first I've seen that presents this event from inside the tomb.  In so doing, it challenged me to change my perspective from that of a spectator, passively watching Lazarus step back into the world, to that of an active participant.  I realized that everything we see of the relationship Lazarus has with Jesus is available to us, too.  We can (and should) be followers of Jesus.  We can have an intimate friendship with Jesus, one that welcomes Him into our homes, our hearts and any other space we consider private and personal.  Jesus has called us to step out of darkness and offers us New Life. |To embrace this, though, comes with a challenge.  We see in John that those who opposed Jesus viewed Lazarus as a threat because his very existence was evidence of the power of the Messiah.  We read that "the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him." |And this is one more thing that is available to us.  We can live a life that testifies to the power of the Messiah, not because of anything we say or do on our own, but precisely because we respond to His call and enter into an intimate relationship with Him.  You can be involved in "the victory of justice" described by the prophet Isaiah.  You can work "to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness."|This does not mean that we won't face difficulties or opposition.  Quite the opposite.  Do not fear, though.  As the psalmist told us today, the Lord is our light and our salvation.  Trust.  Have courage.  The Lord is our refuge.  Of whom should we be afraid?|______________________|* Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions have competing and very different stories of Lazarus's later life, and I won't wade into that debate.** For more on the Heritage Edition at Creighton University, and a little about The Saint John's Bible, visit http://www.creighton.edu/archives/rarebooks/thesaintjohnsbibleatcreighton/
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University Ministry, Creighton University.
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These reflections may not be sold or used commercially without permission. Personal or parish use is permitted.
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