From a Creighton Student's Perspective
April 10, 2011
Senior, English, with a Specialization in Creative Writing,
and Theater Double Major
As Lent nears its end and Holy Week quickly approaches, we are reminded in the midst of our period of sacrifice that we are not alone. As I read the first reading from Ezekiel and the responsorial psalm, the first word that I thought of was “pining.” In Ezekiel, God cries out, “O my people!” pleading with us to trust in his Providence. This world is barren now, our Lenten sacrifices and penitential spirit are taxing and bleak, but he “will put [his] spirit in you that you may live.” This world’s wandering path will reach an end because he will “settle [us] upon [our] land.” He pines after our own hearts and asks us to trust in his promise.
Then the responsorial psalm indicates how we, his people, pine after him: “Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD; LORD, hear my voice!” Our Lenten sacrifices and disposition are intended to teach us how to be empty of this world’s goods and let ourselves be filled with God as the supreme Good. What a challenge to our trust in God when we empty ourselves and beg the unseen God to fill us. But when we crave goods in this world it is simply indicative of a deeper craving and pining for God. Lent is a time to trust that the emptiness will be filled: “With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.”
But we do not have to wait long to taste that sweetness! While we wait to be settled upon our land and receive the entirety of that fullness, we live in hope because the “Spirit of God dwells in” us. Through Baptism, “Christ is in you” and through the Eucharist we taste Heaven, the fullness for which we long. “The one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also” – Our Lenten experience calls us to conversion so that our entire lives might better reflect our dependence upon God. Lent focuses on our emptiness, focuses on that pining for the Spirit’s fullness so that for the rest of our lives we will hold on to that hope that we will live, one day, as spirit and as body in union with God.
While this lengthy Gospel reading is rich with opportunities for Lexio Divina, I want to focus on how Jesus gave a taste of the fullness to come by raising Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus rose to life in this world, a great miracle to all who witnessed it then and to us believing it in faith now, but that miracle is nothing in comparison to the life offered us through the Spirit and Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Lazarus’ resurrection was a forerunner to our own resurrections. Just as “Jesus wept” for Lazarus and his friends, he weeps for us, pining after our stone-hard hearts and saying, “Take away the stone.” He does not want us to be bound to sin and death; he has given his life to ensure that we “will see the glory of God.” If we empty ourselves so that we can be filled with the Spirit, if we work hard to know him, trusting that he is the confidence that keeps us trying, he will say about each of us at the Judgment, “Untie him and let him go.”
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