By Sr. Sarah Martz
In this Sunday’s Gospel reading we hear the story of Lazarus’ death and of Jesus raising him from the dead. It is, arguably, one of Jesus’ more impressive miracles.
In Scripture, Jesus performs miracles for two major reasons: 1.) to demonstrate the nearness and presence of God’s reign and 2.) to reveal the glory of Jesus as the Son of God who gives new life leading us to faith in him.
Certainly, raising Lazarus from his grave reveals Jesus’ glory. And one doesn’t have to read between the lines in order to see how Jesus gives new life to his recently deceased friend.
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus performs around 35 miracles. In addition to raising Lazarus, he also turned water into wine, restored sight to the blind, healed the hemorrhaging woman, and cast out demons. After seeing and hearing about all of these (and numerous other) amazing acts, it would be difficult to deny Jesus’ glory. As grand as all of these miracles are, however, there is another image of Jesus that touches me deeply. It is an intimate, very human picture of Jesus as he mourns the passing of his beloved friend.
“When Jesus saw her [Mary] weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became perturbed and deeply troubled and said, “Where have you laid him [Lazarus]?” They said to him, “Sir, come and see.” And Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.” (John 11:33-36)
And Jesus wept.
How often do we see our Savior with tears in his eyes?
Jesus is divine, but he was also human with human emotions and reactions. There is something comforting in knowing that Jesus wept at Lazarus’ death. We can connect with Jesus in our own times of sadness and loss because he chose to enter into human suffering with us. We are not alone in our life’s sorrows. But we aren’t to remain in sadness either. If our eyes are full of tears for too long, we will be blinded to the new life that is to come.
(Sr. Martz is a member of the Franciscan community in Clinton).