By Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB
John 11 tells the story of Lazarus. It offers a deeper look into the ministry, heart and prayer of Jesus.
Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, first send word that Jesus’s friend, Lazarus, is ill. This, Jesus ignores, telling his disciples, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
He waits until Lazarus dies to go.
When he arrives, Martha sobs, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” Mary echoes her sister.
Despite the fact that he chose to wait until Lazarus died, Jesus is deeply moved. He “groans in the spirit and is troubled.” He weeps. Then he asks to be shown the tomb.
He assures the sisters, “Your brother will rise again.”
Jesus tells the gathered crowd to take away the stone. He prays, simply, “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. … Lazarus, come forth!”
Lazarus, bound with grave clothes, walks out. Jesus tells the crowd to untie him and let him go.
Jesus’s prayer begins with thanks. It is conversational. It is soaked in his own tears. It comes out of his love for his friends.
Our prayer may never bring a dead person back to life, but it can change us. It can convert our hearts and soothe our anxious minds.
In this 5th week of Lent, spend some time reviewing your prayer life. Perhaps this is the time to renew your prayer schedule. Is it too rushed, too hurried, always asking, never thanking, adoring and/or asking for forgiveness?
Today, spend time revamping where, when and how often you will pray.
Roll the stone away from your tepid heart, untie yourself from your burial cloths and let your hesitation and lukewarm attitude go!