The story of Lazarus helps us enter into a deep and real encounter with Jesus. Although Jesus is the All Powerful Lord and Savior of all, he weeps at the death of his friend and he grieves with Martha and Mary because of their loss. Jesus is not afraid to cry, to weep and to grieve. He is not aloof or separated from our pain, longing or suffering any more than he is separated from our feelings of joy, hope and gratitude! Jesus is not afraid to feel and express his emotions in a healthy way with other people. Jesus’ words to unbind and set Lazarus free are directed to us today.
Let us think about Lazarus for a moment. He is bound up in a dark cave and he is dead. These are the effects of sin and Jesus has come to show that he can free us from these effects if we trust and believe in him!
Close your eyes, try to identify the places of injury on your body or soul that have been damaged or died because of sin. Think about your personal Spirit, has part of it died or been diminished in some way?
If you feel that you are in darkness and have lost sight of hope, If you feel unable to give or receive love, If you can no longer voice your true thoughts and feelings, If you did something bad or were made to do something bad, If you are unable to move forward and make changes in your life, If your mind is constantly dwelling on negativity, fear, guilt, or caught up in anger obsessing on past hurts and trauma, If you feel ashamed, If you have been carrying the burden of an unspoken secret, If part of your body is suffering from the damage of abuse, or anything else– ask Jesus to unbind you!
If you feel that you are cut off from God and are unable to pray: pray in the name of Jesus! Pray with a humble, sincere and repentant heart. Pray from the heart and simply be honest with Jesus. Ask him to help you pray.
Remember: You cannot have lust or a wrongful attachment in your heart. You cannot be effective in prayer if you mistreat your spouse or your children or neglect the poor. You cannot harbor a grudge. You must have faith in your heart and no bitterness toward someone else. Pray with great hope and in secret. Pray according to God’s will with an obedient attitude and live that way. Pray in agreement with other believers and with delight in God’s goodness and love! Fast and pray while abiding in God’s Word, Jesus Christ! May the All-merciful Lord raise you to eternal life! +++ Fr. Peter