Leave the Tomb and Be Untied: Homily Notes for the Fifth Sunday of Lent

21378.b What is this Gospel really about?

1) It’s not about Lazarus: he would die again

2) It’s not about Martha and Mary: they wouldn’t be happy forever – they would mourn again.

3) It’s not even about those who came to believe in Jesus: they would abandon him.

This Gospel is really about Jesus: it puts him front and center as not just one who speaks powerful words – but the One who acts in power, confronting the darkness moments of our human existence.  Jesus confronts the death of his friend Lazarus by two powerful words:

Lazarus, come out!

And

Untie him and let him go.

 Both of these have something to do with our lives. First of all: Come out!  Because we are all baptized, Jesus knows our names and says to us the same thing: come out! Leave the places where we’re more dead than alive – we know, I think, exactly what these are – we’re asked to consider where are the places where we’ve given up – where we’re “dead.” Jesus beckons us to leave them today – to leave the tombs of our former lives. At the same time, this project of conversion isn’t our own – no, God enters into our lives in the here and now and walks with us as we “come out.”  We hear: “untie him and let him go.”  That is the true beauty of our Christian lives – God entering in and at once calling us out, but also being there with us to help us! Yet all this isn’t about us: because there are many who we continue to tie up: we may ask ourselves, when do jokes go too far – and what I mean by that, where are those places where we’re going too far – where are the places in which we’re still settling, still cutting corners? These are the exact places where we need to have the courage to ask Jesus to enter into in our lives – and we’re in a perfect place to ask such a question in this church. Jesus has powerful words that are directed at us: Come out and be untied – and then, untie others! In these next few weeks, we ought identify a place where we’re tied and enter into fullness life: reconciliation, repentance, and reparation – in the remaining two weeks before Easter, let us be come out of our tombs and be untied – and let us do it in the power of the One who on that same Easter was untied to die no more!

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