Jesus is merciful as his Father is merciful. That is why he weeps with us who face death. And he surrenders to it to bring us life to the full.
Jesus hears that his friend Lazarus is ill. And right away, he shows that he stays on top of things. So, he is in no hurry to see him and his sisters. But this is not to say that his loving and merciful heart does not go out to them.
Jesus remains calm, too, as he asks his followers to go back with him to Judea. He does not mind that it may lead to his death. His followers’ lack of understanding does not upset him either. He does mean to keep working for the glory of God and being merciful to those in need.
Jesus keeps his peace, moreover, when Martha meets him. She expresses her grief that he was not with them when they needed him most. And ever merciful, he simply reassures her that her brother will rise.
But then, Mary meets Jesus and falls at his feet. She pours out her grieving heart to him in the same way as her sister. And the sight of Mary and the others weeping moves Jesus deeply and troubles him. Soon enough, at the tomb, he weeps, too. He is seemingly losing it.
Losing it, so to speak, Jesus shows how lovingly merciful he is to the utmost. And he wants us to be like him.
Seeing Jesus lose it, people get to know how much he loves Lazarus. Yes, he loves him and his sisters so much that he cannot bear seeing them powerless in the face of death. So, he raises the dead. It is within his power, after all, to do so. Surely, we cannot hope for anything less from someone who loves so much and is that merciful.
Moreover, to hope for anything less is to underestimate the infinite inventiveness of love. It is so inventive it gives rise to the Eucharist (SV.EN XI:131) that points to Jesus’ lifegiving death.
And the followers of Jesus are to go and die with him. And with the least of his brothers and sisters, especially these uncertain times. That is, we are called to compassion that makes for our being less a wild animal and more human (SV.EN XII:222). And the more human, the more like God and truly alive through the Spirit. For mercy is the distinctive feature of God (SV.EN XI:328), of the true and living God.
Lord Jesus, you are so loving and merciful to the end, to the utmost, that you bring us life to the full. Make us truly understand that it is in losing life that we find it for others and for ourselves.
29 March 2020
Fifth Sunday of Lent (A)
Ez 37, 12-14; Rom 8, 8-11; Jn 11, 1-45