“Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him.” (John 12:1,2 NRSV).
I wish I could take credit for learning this on my own, but thank God I cannot. A candidate for the Diaconate preached on these words at this mornings Mass at St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. The words she preached on were “and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him.”
These words follow the chapter in St. John’s Gospel in which we read about Lazarus being raised from the dead by Jesus. A man who was sick, had died, and then was raised is now seated at a table dining with Jesus. What happens at this meal? Mary anoints His feet, preparing Jesus for His passion, death and burial.
What a wonder this is to contemplate. Sickness, death and resurrection all sharing a meal together with the Son of God. Could this be a symbolic prefiguring of the Paschal Mystery? Are we being given a glimpse of the Reign of God at the end of the age?
We are contemplating how we are viewed from God’s perspective. Whether we come from the place of illness, death or resurrection all are welcomed into God’s presence. We all have an opportunity to behold the vision of God receiving us, healing us and giving us new life and welcoming us to eat with Him. If we are there to offer Jesus our love by anointing His feet with Mary, Jesus will receive what we give Him, because He sees our faith and love for what they are. It is faith and love from the perspective of God. We can surrender ourselves as we are into the service of God, because in faith we are all received and cherished as God’s Beloved.
Let us take that image with us on this Monday of Holy Week. See if it makes a change in your life. Celebrate that change. That is what Holy Week is for.
Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB