In the past two weeks we have heard/said things like this:
We are on an uncharted path …
Never before in the history of the world …
In all my years, I’ve never seen something like this …
Whether one is 6 or 96 … President, Pope, or a gentle, elderly soul in a care facility in rural Louisiana — we all share at least one thing: we have no experience to draw from — we are in unprecedented times.
In looking at the (Roman Liturgical) Gospel selection assigned for this weekend — we see and hear the account of LAZARUS BEING RAISED FROM THE DEAD –he died, he was in the tomb for four days. Then he was raised from the dead –not merely resuscitated, but called BACK to life from being among the dead.
When the world shuts down — stays down — and looks forward to returning to “normal”, is this not a LAZARUS MOMENT IN OUR HISTORY.
I cannot imagine that a week after this experience, Lazarus was “living as if nothing happened.” Wow! Every aspect of his life — work, relationships, faith, appreciation for life, had to have undergone FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE — literally he had to see life, daily life, through new eyes. After all, he was being given a second chance at living!!!
Each of us has had personal LAZARUS MOMENTS – loss of a job, divorce, “healing” of an addiction, betrayal, death of a child — when life was forever changed and seen in a new way. And, we started over — we moved on, we stepped forward.
There have been national LAZARUS MOMENTS — the Great Depression, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, 09/11 —- when we as a country were changed and put on a different course.
Today — perhaps like never before — we have a GLOBAL LAZARUS MOMENT — when we are in a place we have never been before — a place of many unknowns — a place of frustration — a place of fear — a place of anger — a place of HOPE — a place of PRAYER.
We cannot allow ourselves to accept that we will “return to life” as it was before. We cannot allow ourselves to see things as they were before. We cannot move forward without grasping the impact of the “four days in the tomb.”
God did not create COVID – 19 to teach us a lesson. God did not create Covid-19 to punish anyone. God did not create Covid-19 to create international crisis.
In what is happening, there are lessons to be learned and messages to be heard. What might they be?
- We can no longer say: “that is their problem … it’s not a concern of mine.” What happens in China affects South Korea, Italy, Spain, the UK, and the USA. National pride is good — it is healthy. But, there is no such thing as “us alone — or us FIRST.” We are the World, we are the Children of One World. We cannot build any kind of wall to protect us FROM the world.
2. If we have enough bombs and enough planes to deliver bombs — but not enough masks and ventilators, then could it be we need to look at our spending priorities? Are we preparing for the right “war”.
3. Maybe — staying at home is not as bad as we imagined it to be — oh, yes, I like everyone look forward to going to restaurants, a movie, and to gather in a group larger than 10. But quiet time, alone time ——– time away is good, too.
4. Did we “hoard” the right things — did we have ahead of time what we needed the most? Do I need as much as I think I need?
5. Covid-19 does not discriminate — it has infected political leaders, movie stars, professional sports stars, people of all ethnic stripes, grandparents in nursing homes, and the young. We are in this together. Your being cautious might save my life. My being careless could infect you.
In time we will forget some of the lessons of the pandemic. We might return to some of our fears and petty ways — but, I hope for awhile, like Lazarus we will see life with new eyes. We will be unbound to live freely — not just for ourselves, but with and for others.
The most lasting changes will be unseen. These are the changes in our hearts and our attitudes.
Jesus is saying: COME OUT AND BE UNTIED