This week we encounter Lazarus. “Lord, it has been four days now; surely there will be a stench!” Most of us are locked away in our own tombs as we self-isolate or follow directives. “What will be?” is a question many of us are living with today. When can the six feet of social distancing become the normal range of personal space? When will we emerge and return to what was? We do not know what happened to Lazarus after he came back to life. Perhaps he opened a flat-bread shop with Martha cleaning tables and Mary sitting in front acting as hostess. We do not know what tomorrow will look like.
I am tired of isolation. “Lord it has been four days now; surely there will be a stench!” After a week and trying to be brave and understanding, the nice behavior is starting to fray at the edges. Maybe this year we will empathize with the apostles as we celebrate Holy Saturday – Jesus dead and in the tomb. All our hopes and thoughts and life that gave us meaning are dead. And it stinks. But are they dead?
I reflect on the community in which I live at this time. We try to be kind to one another, give each other space, perhaps the benefit of the doubt. We allow conversation to flow staying a little bit longer at the dinner table. Helping where we can while trying not to get in the way. Our prayers include more petitions. De La Salle writes in his meditation on St. Martha, “She had nothing more at her heart than to serve Jesus well. She even had such a great esteem and such deep respect for Jesus that when he came to raise Lazarus to life, she went out quite a distance to welcome him.” And in Meditation 22, “You also need to fight valiantly under His standard”. God’s standard, not mine. I find at times I forget the values of compassion, care, understanding, forgiveness, humility, love – virtues in which Jesus lived and died. As we recall this Gospel, may we remember to “go the distance” when needed toward one another and ourselves as we remember God’s presence in our midst.