Sunday, April 6, 2014

Why did Jesus cry at Lazarus' Grave?

In the Preface for this Sunday, we read:
"For as true man he wept for Lazarus his friend and as eternal God raised him from the tomb, just as, taking pity on the human race, he leads us by sacred mysteries to new life."
That is certainly our traditional understanding and the Church's teaching, but it doesn't keep the little boy in me from insisting as to why Jesus cried at Lazarus's grave. When you are a child you ask why, "...but with His foreknowledge how could Jesus weep?" When you get older, you weep at the drop of a hat and don't ask such questions any more.

As we read in the Gospel for today, Jesus already knew what was and what He was going to do before setting out for Bethany. So then why did He cry? Other folks had their explanations and their mixed emotions, all of them confounded by His "Lazarus, come forth!"

For me, this Gospel and the therein contained great mystery bespeaks Christ's immediacy, His closeness and His will to save in our regard. The Catechism explains that eternal life starts with Baptism and goes on and on. Right now, too often, the "other folks" have the upper hand and by their words place bounds which constrain and leave without hope. The present ambiance is too much conditioned by the here and now. They (and we too if we fall into this sin) truly deserve to be confounded by Christ in our midst.

The raising of Lazarus from the dead, as well as restoring her dead son alive to the widow of Nain were, yes, miracles, but they were clearly God's response to human tears. Does it take little or much to move Him? I guess you have to be a friend of God to know.

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