Eleanor Suther, OSB | March 25, 2023

Readings: 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; John 11:1-45

“If you had been here my brother would not have died…” After all, Martha had sent him a message that Lazarus was ill. But, he had waited and only came now, four days after Lazarus was dead and buried.

Seeing their sorrow, Jesus wept. Perhaps Jesus was also remembering good times visiting Mary and Martha and Lazarus. His empathy also brought tears, and He called Lazarus back from the dead. There he was, hobbling along in those burial clothes… but alive! How wonderful!

Of course, after a few years, Lazarus and Martha and Mary all died… That was after they had witnessed Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection. The coming of the Holy Spirit transformed their lives and that of their community. They died believing that Jesus would bring them resurrection and new life…

Recently, I was reading from the book of memories of our sisters who had died. There were memories of Sister Vitalis, who served as a housekeeper at Lillis High School in the 1950s. I was struck by the statement that she was serving 23 sisters who worked at Lillis. I began to think about all the sisters who served in our missions in those days. You might call them the “good old days.”

When we think about how our world has changed since then – shrinking churches and religious communities, the polarization in our country, the growing inequity, the people who feel left out – and then look at all those other countries dealing with civil unrest or outright wars… you can wish we could go back to the “good old days.”

Of course, that is impossible. Jesus is reminding us that He is the resurrection and the life. There is reason to hope. If we are open to the action of the Holy Spirit our lives can be transformed.

When Jesus came to raise Lazarus from the dead, he knew this was not going back to the “good old days.” He knew what the future held for him. He knew that our loving God is always offering us new life. Sometimes, bringing that new life means laying down your life for the sake of the other. Sometimes, the price of transformation brings pain and sorrow. And “Jesus gets us,” as the ad says. He weeps with us, but promises us resurrection.


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Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica
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