AND JESUS WEPT. JN 11:35
Humbly submit your will to God (Thy Will be done) and consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through Mary and Joseph.
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus
had already been in the tomb for four days.
Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away.
And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary
to comfort them about their brother.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,
“Your brother will rise.”
Martha said to him,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”
When she had said this,
she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying,
“The teacher is here and is asking for you.”
As soon as she heard this,
she rose quickly and went to him.
For Jesus had not yet come into the village,
but was still where Martha had met him.
So when the Jews who were with her in the house comforting her
saw Mary get up quickly and go out,
they followed her,
presuming that she was going to the tomb to weep there.
When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him,
she fell at his feet and said to him,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping,
he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said,
“Where have you laid him?”
They said to him, “Sir, come and see.”
And Jesus wept.
So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.”
But some of them said,
“Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man
have done something so that this man would not have died?”
So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb.
It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.
Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him,
“Lord, by now there will be a stench;
he has been dead for four days.”
Jesus said to her,
“Did I not tell you that if you believe
you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone.
And Jesus raised his eyes and said,
“Father, I thank you for hearing me.
I know that you always hear me;
but because of the crowd here I have said this,
that they may believe that you sent me.”
And when he had said this,
He cried out in a loud voice,
“Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man came out,
tied hand and foot with burial bands,
and his face was wrapped in a cloth.
So Jesus said to them,
“Untie him and let him go.”
Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what he had done began to believe in him. JN 11:1-45
Today, John the Evangelist, gives us the last sign, the rising of Jesus’s good friend Lazarus. This sign is God’s redemptive plan for our fallen bodies. We are made of body and Spirit. As I pray, I think about the meaning of the Resurrection. Jesus is showing us today what will happen to dead bodies. They will be raised. This is a very difficult and radical belief.
In wrestling with God on this question, He first led me to Peter Kreeft’s books, “Everything You Wanted to Know About Heaven”. Then, I was led to “Heaven, the Heart’s Deepest Longing”. God was telling me that I must live with the end in mind. I needed to know what this great reward was that I was fighting for. This greatly motivated me and increased my faith.
He has led me to Carl Olsen who wrote “Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead”. I stumbled upon Fr. Spitzer and his work with the Shroud of Turin (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ru9udgqRU8) when I was looking for something to teach my students to understand the resurrection. All of the scientific data and research with new technology that has proven this Man is rising through this burial cloth.
Fr. Spitzer then led me to look up near death experiences (NDE), especially of the blind. I am currently reading “Imagine Heaven: Near-Death Experiences, God’s Promises, and the Exhilarating Future That Awaits You” by John Burke. It, too, reveals cases of the blind coming back and describing things they have never been able to see before with stunning detail and accuracy.God then sent me Dr. Eben Alexander’s book, “Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife”. Mrs. Carter and Mrs. Bird bought me this book from the Scholastic Book Fair.
I am interested to see what I find next because this is our final destiny. I have no faith or cannot believe in Jesus and His promises of an afterlife. The research I have done in wresting with God on this question has increased by faith, lessened my worry and anxiety of judgment day and my fears of death, but way more importantly has helped foster my relationship with God. I am very much looking forward to heaven to meet the Holy Trinity, Mary and Joseph, all of the saints, and family and friends. This is worth fighting for.
Sr. Mary Francesca, IHM says, “We live to die”. The hardest death is dying to self and allowing God to transform us into who He made us to be with a purpose and mission to glorify Him as He glorifies us by working through us. The hardest death is dying to self not physical death says Peter Kreeft.
In reflecting on the Gospels daily, I have wrestled with God on the most important questions of life and death. I still fear death and judgment day some. I don’t think I would be human or have a fallen human nature if I didn’t, but I worry a lot less about it. I know where to go if I fall into sin, I now invite Jesus into that sin and ask Him to be with me, and I endure pain and suffering by offering it up through Him to the Father.
Most importantly through prayer and reading the Gospels I have learned how to trust God, the very foundation of every relationship. My consecration to Jesus through Mary and daily rosary have impacted my life and faith beyond human reasoning.
So, today Jesus gives us the last sign in John’s Gospel. Since Jesus rose from the dead He changed everything about how humans and the world function in 3 fundamental ways (Bishop Barron’s teaching on the resurrection https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/article/the-disturbing-fact-of-the-resurrection/5119/ ).
First, this life is not the final horizon. We are created for an afterlife. I suggest you start reading about it and how to get there. We are earthly creatures with a heavenly homeland. Jesus shares plenty about what the Kingdom of Heaven is like and how to get there. This should help us understand the Gospel is about detachment from material goods. We won’t need them. How much we love matters most in Heaven. This is why God made us in His “image and likeness”. This is where we yearn to go and be with Him forever.
Second, the tyrants rule is over. There is no human on earth more powerful than God. Jesus is the King of the Universe. This is why so many people will not renounce their faith in God when threatened by tyrants. If they die, they are going to a better place to be with God. Every martyr has a fascinating story of faith. Is Jesus the King of your universe? God’s love is the most powerful thing in the world. Take time to wrestle with God on this one.
Third, Jesus opened up the Spiritual world for everyone. Jesus has won hope for the hopeless. The resurrection is about hope which drives a person through despair and difficult circumstances in life. Do you have hope? Jesus has opened a place where He can bring everyone together in communion. He has given us a foretaste in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Eucharist bringing all of us together into the One Body of Christ. Jesus gave us a way to get back to the Father. The Father’s greatest desire is our friendship, a relationship.
Last, Christianity is the only religion in the world with a past, present, and future. If there is no God and there is no resurrection, what is the point of living?
Today’s challenge: Wrestle with this radical belief. It will be the most important time you spend on earth. Then, pray and ask Jesus for the grace to believe.