The Lazarus Prototype
The story of the resurrection of Lazarus has always been considered a proto-type of our spiritual conversion. His physical death is typical of our spiritual death.
Just as Christ went to the tomb of Lazarus to resurrect and liberate him, He comes to our dead and dying world to regenerate us by conversion. He comes to liberate us from the encumbrances of spiritual grave clothes: old bad habits, rags of self-righteousness and unwillingness to forgive. Christ comes to our lives to destroy the darkness in our souls and enlighten our minds to inspire and guide us in our journey back to our heavenly Father. He has come to redeem us, to rescue us from the clutches of the sin and death.
The miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead represents the power of Christ’s own resurrection and its saving efficacy to liberate us from sin and death, which is also a consequence of sin.
As we spend the last few days of the Lenten season, let us reflect on our life that has been influenced by the power of evil. Let us examine our old bad habits that can be classified addictions controlling our sense of freedom and dignity and sons and daughters of God. Let us see the darkness that hovers over our horizon because we have chosen to veer away from the light of Christ. Let us feel the weakness that results from our inability to exercise the works or love and mercy mandated by the Gospel. As we reflect on the Christ’s life of love and forgiveness, let us express sorrow for our own unwillingness to forgive one another from our hearts. Let us appreciate how Christ, dying on the cross, expressed forgiveness to those who brought him to his painful suffering and death. Let us learn that forgiveness is a higher level of strength and that the capacity to forgive not human, but a free gift of participation in God’s divine love and mercy. Let us be more attentive to Christ’s invitation for us to become a forgiven and forgiving community. Let us re-learn to be more open to the healing sacraments of the Church. Let us re-visit the importance of the works of mercy as a reparation for our own sins and the sins of others.
As we prepare to celebrate the Paschal Mystery of Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection, let us re-learn to associate our own trials and tribulations with the saving sacrifice of Christ on the cross. As we prepare to celebrate Christ’s death on the cross, especially on Good Friday, let us have the courage to approach His rich mercy and forgiveness.
In a revelation to St. Faustina in October 1937, Jesus requested daily prayer at 3 pm to honor the hour of His death and to implore mercy for sinners. “If only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of my death. This is the hour of mercy for the whole world… In this hour, I refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion.” (Diary, 1320)
May these last days of the Lenten period help us to come forth from our spiritual grave to the overflowing grace of God’s liberating love and mercy.