Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Week of Two Resurrections

Most of you have been to Mass this Sunday. If so, then you know that today's Gospel is the John's account of the Raising of Lazarus. If you have studied Scripture, or read any of Dr. Scott Hahn's books, you are probably familiar with what "typology" is. A "type" prefigures something greater which is to come. An example of this is the Exodus of the Israelites.  Moses lead the Israelites through the waters of the Red Sea, out of slavery into freedom and a new covenant with God. This event is a "type" of baptism. Through the waters of baptism we are freed from the slavery to sin and enter into a new relationship of son-ship with God. (This is the short version).

I experienced a type of my own this week as my beloved cell phone "died." I could no longer check email or use most apps. I could make phone calls, but if you know me well, you know that I rarely use my phone as a phone because I have a great disdain for talking on the telephone. Being only 6 months into my contract with this phone, I feared the outcome. I don't know if you have ever priced smart-phones without the subsidy that you get with the two year contract, but most retail around $500. Ouch! So I went to T Mobile, toting my three oldest kids with me. I figured if things went really bad there, having my kids watching me would at least keep my temper in check. I explained my problem to the guy at the counter. I think that I saw him wince when I told him the problem. He suggested that it could be a bad app or conflicting apps (which was an authentic possibility). He said I should start uninstalling the apps one at a time from newest to oldest. Images of hours working on my phone spun through my head. I handed him the phone and said "wipe it!" "Really?", he said, "most people don't want us to do that." I figured it would either work and I'd have to reinstall the apps, or it wouldn't and then I could ask him "Now what?" He wiped the phone, I entered my Google info, and.... Nothing! "Now what?" I asked. He winced... again. After scratching his head, he said, with an unsure voice, "It could be your SIM card." What did I have to lose? He went through a process of copying data from my old SIM card to a new one, put it in the phone and we waited for it to boot. Bing, bing, bing... Email began popping into my inbox. Resurrection! I very sincerely thanked the young man, who now was looking very proud of himself. I must admit, that I was impressed. I had been fully bracing myself for the awful experience of trying to find a replacement on Ebay. Awesome job Mr. T Mobile sales guy! I saw a dead phone and little hope. I received a free gift of new life for my phone. Just a tiny taste of today's Gospel in my own life.

When hearing todays Gospel, I can't imagine what Mary, Martha and the others must have felt. Their hopelessness had to be so deep, and their loss so great. They had seen Jesus heal so many, but he did not come until Lazarus had dies. "If only he had come sooner, our brother would still be alive", they must have thought. Imagine the conflict they must have felt. They deeply loved Jesus and believed that he was the Messiah, but they felt the wrenching loss of their brother, whom they also loved deeply. They had to be hurt, frustrated, and even angry. Then it happened. In my mind, I believe there had to be this moment pregnant with anticipation and wonder. Christ had them roll away the tomb, and I am sure that at first everyone believed that our Lord wanted to see the body of his close friend in order to mourn. But then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believe that you will see the Glory of God?" At this moment they had to wonder, "What is our Lord saying?" Amidst the pain of loss and great frustration, the truth of what was about to happen must have begun to penetrate their thinking. Jesus prayed to the Father for the benefit of those present, evoking further expectancy, wonder, and expectancy. This came to a climax, erupting in the words "LAZARUS, COME OUT!" Then a moment of stillness. Can you imagine that moment? Will he come out? II have seen Jesus do great things, but do I dare hop? Then, after a what seemed to be a moment frozen in time... Lazarus came forth from the tomb, followed by a unmeasurable outpouring of rejoicing, thanksgiving, and tears of joy.

This amazing event in the life of Christ, as truly awesome as it is, is also a type of of something infinitely greater - the resurrection of the God-Man, Jesus Christ, which we are preparing for in just two weeks. An event which caused all of creation to be renewed and which ripples throughout all eternity. but alas, it is still Lent... and so we wait.

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