It’s Monday of Holy Week as I’m writing this letter; so I’m meditating on today’s Gospel, John 12:1-11. Jesus has just raised Lazarus from the dead, and Mary and Martha are throwing a banquet for Jesus. This occurs six days before Jesus’ Good Friday death. At the heart of the banquet are Jesus and Lazarus, reclining at table together. The household has become – in the wake of Lazarus’s resurrection – an oasis of life lived in a divine dimension.
Imagine the table conversation between Jesus and Lazarus. Lazarus might say: “Lord, nothing is the same for me anymore. Darkness and light are so much clearer. Even the simplest things that I do now, I do with gratitude, knowing that the life I live has been given me anew by You. Not a day goes by without wonder at the fact that I’m alive, nor without the desire to live motivated by Your love. I wouldn’t say that nothing matters anymore… but everything matters because of You, in light of You.”
Jesus might say, “My heavenly Father gave me a very special love for you; and I knew that His plan was to raise you from the dead, so that you might be an instrument for Him, a witness. You and your sisters, Martha and Mary, are to be a home already transformed by Heaven’s Love, which will be poured out on Calvary soon.”
Mary–probably Mary Magdalene – whose life has been transformed from profligacy – anoints Jesus already for his burial. Jesus has not been silent about the horror that is to come upon him. Mary’s anointing with precious spikenard is a symbol of extravagant love for Jesus… an act of life divinely lived… something to be expected from somebody who has been raised from the dead spiritually, if not physically.
Martha accommodates the entire light-filled banquet by her extraordinary service. Hers is also an extravagant love, in light of her brother’s resurrection.
A large crowd is at the banquet, even surrounding the home. They have come to see not only Jesus, but also Lazarus who was raised from the dead. And many are starting to believe in Jesus, which means they are starting to be alive. The home has become an oasis of divine life.
In God’s mysterious plan, not everybody is transformed. No less a personage than Judas, an apostle of Jesus, and the money keeper, seems unmoved by the resurrection of Lazarus, also unmoved by the transformation of lives around Jesus. Judas contests the extravagant show of love by Mary–the anointing with aromatic spikenard. Judas’s inclinat
ion to thievery remains mysteriously intact. And some of the Jewish leaders only grow in their contempt for Jesus in light of Lazarus’s resurrection. They even plot to kill Lazarus himself, as if to hide the miracle. Can we mere mortals really hide God’s miracles, if He wants them to be known? So not every heart is transformed by encountering the oasis
of life, which is the home of Lazarus, Martha and Mary.
But the oasis is still glorious, and it serves God as He desires for certain lives. By our baptism into Jesus, you and I have died and risen with him. May our transformed lives be still more at His service this Easter season. May our homes be oasis of life lived in a divine dimension.
Have a blessed Easter!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,