The readings of today present us with beautiful symbols of the activity of God in the lives of those who believe and those who turn to him. He is good and merciful and continues in the great act of giving life to his creatures. He first gave life in creation but continues to sustain life and to re-give it to those who have lost it ask come back to him.
The first reading shows the state of the lives of those who have lost their contact with the spirit of God and God's response to them. They are dead even while they appear to live. They are dead to life in the spirit and are given over to the dominance of the flesh, the pleasures of the world, worldly philosophies, and the deceptions of the devil. Their intellect and minds are guided by worldly reasoning and values, their personality is shaped by a worldly mentality in conformity to the ruling culture of the time, and their bodies are built for the satisfaction of the flesh. They are slaves to the media propaganda culture and lack the ability to make personal choices for their salvation. They merely follow the thought of the crowd and cannot distinguish themselves from their peers. When they speak they merely report their conformity with popular culture. They create their own religion. Within them is a strong protestant spirit – to protest against the church of Christ and her teachings. They construct their personal interpretations of the bible that conform to their choices. Their soul is darkened. It is totally abandoned. Reality for them is only what they see and feel. They have lost touch with transcendence. They see life from a very limited prism even while they pride themselves to know it all. God says they are in their graves. They are dead to His spirit, and in fact, cannot hear it nor understand it. But if they would return to him and recognize their mistake, he would restore them.
In the gospel, we see the act of God in those who believe. His spirit lives in them and animates them. This spirit is the source of a strong contact with God himself. And even in physical death, they hear his voice still. The Love between Jesus and Lazarus was as strong as the spirit was active between them. Their spirits were actively connected. And when he said: “Lazarus come out”, there was no physical barrier that could stop Lazarus’ spirit from responding. Not even his wrapped hands and feet nor decay could stop him. And Jesus showed that he had the power to give life and to re-give it, i.e. to raise the dead to life. And he said: “He who believes in me will live even though he dies”.
How active is your spiritual connection with Christ? This is the last week of lent before the holy week. How have you been able to build it up so far? The is the main purpose of lent: to help us overcome our passions, raise up the spirit and obtain more of the grace of God. We can use the remaining days of lent to stir up our spiritual connection with God through prayers, abstinence, forgiveness, confessions sharing the good news, and guarding and protecting our faith from idle talk. St. Paul admonishes us not to quench the Spirit of God in us (I Thess. 5:19), but rather to stir it up always (2 Tim, 1:6).