This week, the readings focus on the promise of life after death. The prophet Ezekiel (37:12-14) reminds us that it is by the very Spirit Of God that we will be called forth to rise from our graves and live. Similarly, Paul in his letter to the Romans (8:8-11) assures us that the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead also lives in us. The presence of this Spirit transforms us, such that we are no longer bound by the flesh but are freed to live new lives in Christ.
As a sign of the power of the Spirit of God at work in Him, Jesus, in today’s Gospel (Jn 11:1-45) raises Lazarus to life. This sign, the last of seven signs in the fourth gospel, affirms, by way of illustration, the declaration of Jesus, “I am the resurrection and the life: Whoever believes in me, though he should die, will come to life and whoever is alive and believes in me will never die.” (25-26). In his capacity as one who was much loved by Jesus, Lazarus is a paradigm of every beloved believer. Therefore, just as Jesus called loudly to Lazarus to “Come out”, so also does Jesus summon each of us to recognize whatever we have allowed to entomb us in death and to “come out” so as to allow ourselves to be “untied” by his grace and “go free”.
“Come out”, says Jesus, from the tomb of self-sufficiency wherein you do not admit of your need for God and for one another. “Come out”, says Jesus, from the tomb of preoccupation with yourself and open your eyes to the needs of others around.
“Come out”, says Jesus, from the secret safety of the tomb of uninvolvement and dare to challenge the injustices in this world.
“Come out”, says Jesus, from the grave of melancholy and despair and be glad in the blessings that are yours.
“Come out”, says Jesus, from under the pile of unfounded fears that have become a virtual burial place; untie yourself from all unnecessary concerns and find new courage and freedom in me.