FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT
(Violet) Cycle A/Year I (April 2, 2017)
Ez 37:12-14/Rom 8:8-11/Jn 11:1-45
Jesus was informed that His beloved friend Lazarus was sick but He delayed His coming. When He finally came over the place of Lazarus, Lazarus was already dead and buried for four days. When He saw Mary, the sister of Lazarus, and all her companions weeping near the burial place, Jesus was moved and wept. He commanded that the stone that covered the burial place be removed. Then, after praying, He ordered Lazarus to come out. Lazarus came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands. Jesus said to them to untie Lazarus and let him go.
The little sentence that says “And Jesus wept” would be astonishing for the Greeks. They could not believe that the Son of God would weep. But Jesus is not simply a Son of God; Jesus is also Son of Mary, and therefore He is a human being. In this act of weeping, we see the humanity of Jesus and also His love for the humanity. Jesus does not want to see the suffering of the people; He does not want to see the death of any human person neither the weeping of the dead person’s relatives.
If God does not want the suffering of people, why are there millions of people who are suffering? Suffering is part of life here on this earth. Those that live here on earth suffer in one way or another. But God became man in Jesus who suffered and died for us and for our salvation. With this, Jesus converted the sufferings as instruments of our salvation. On the other hand, Jesus weeps when the suffering of people is caused by other people due to injustice, abuse or crime. Jesus does not want us to suffer and we do not want Jesus to weep. Let us then live the teaching of Jesus to love God and our neighbor and to care for one another.
We may also ask: If God does not want the death of any human being, why do people die? Just like suffering, death has become an essential part of life here on earth. All that live here on earth also die. This is inescapable truth. But Jesus weeps when the death of a human being is caused by other person. Only God is the giver of life; He is the only source of life. Therefore, God only has the power to take away life from us. In other words, as human beings, we have no right to take away our lives from ourselves or the life of other people. Consequently, no estate or any human institution has the right to take away the life of any human being. In order not to offend God, let us respect the life of every human being and treat everybody with human dignity, how sinful or criminal he may be. We must rather do our best to transform him with the love of God and make him capable to live a natural life in the society.
God is love and He never tires in loving and caring for each of us. God wants our happiness and not our misery. St. Irenaeus of Lyons put it in these words: “The glory of God is man truly alive.” We are truly alive when we are in communion with God and fulfill the teachings of Jesus. On the other hand, when we separate ourselves from the love of God and do sinful or criminal acts, then we are dead to the grace of God and Jesus weeps. Let us make Jesus smile and always happy by glorifying God through our thoughts, words and deeds, particularly by caring for our brothers or sisters who are considered in our society as the least, the last and the lost.