Jesus did not hide his feelings – John’s Gospel 11:1-45
Lazarus – Lord you raise the dead to life in the Spirit – Lord have mercy
I have just come from seeing a very dear friend who will soon pass from this world. I was so conscious as I stood by her bedside, of the privilege I have as a priest in administering the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Anointing and Communion, and to witness she was granted a holy death.
I could see how tired she had become and in the middle of a sentence witnessed her going in and out of sleep. It’s so special being a priest, what little or long conversation we have, always reflects on a person’s life. Like all journeys there have been successes and hardships, but, nearing the end for my friend was a blessing for a life wonderfully lived, faithfully enriched through her love of God’s word and sacraments.
Because of the Covid-19 restrictions only one person could be with her at a time, as I came out of her room, I walked with her son to the car, the sadness in his voice struck me, I could feel his hurt and felt him holding back his tears. He had nothing but love and admiration for his mother’s strength of character, wise counsel, love and sacrifices. He was filled with gratitude and love. I couldn’t help but feel we both wanted to shed a tear for someone who has a permanent place in our hearts. This week’s Gospel of the raising of Lazarus tells us that Jesus when he heard of his friend’s passing, breaks down and cries. We should not in particular be surprised when we see a man or men crying should we? Yet the culture I grew up in talked about shedding tears as a show of weakness, I can still hear those words ringing in my ears when I was afraid or alone and reduced to tears – No tears – be a man no tears!!!
Jesus did not hide his feelings, on seeing the plight of ordinary people he was moved with pity – he wept over Jerusalem – because he knew it was heading for destruction, and he wept at the tomb of Lazarus his dear friend. There have been times when a leader shows sorrow in public – Jesus shows us his heartfelt sympathy for Martha and Mary and his solidarity with them.
Through the Coronavirus hardships Australians have so many good people in leadership openly moved to tears in their outreach to ease the plight of so many in their losses of jobs, their livelihoods, their security. Like Jesus, we all share the grief, the hardship – Jesus teaches us that the way to deal with hardship and grief is to not run away from it, or to pretend it isn’t there, but to face it head on and to work through it honestly and lovingly. We will witness a nation made whole, that through actions of caring, sharing and daring, new life, new hope turns tears into joy, death into life.
At the passing of a friend although saddened we are eternal life is not something that begins when we die. It begins the moment we hear the voice of Jesus and believe in him.
We believe that Jesus is the source of eternal life for all who believe in him, after all he came that we might have life and have it to the full.