Last Words of Lent

Today is the last day of Lent.  Tomorrow we enter into Holy Week. Tomorrow the Hosannas will ring out.  But today is the last day of Lent.  No Hosannas today and no alleluias either.  For today is the last day of Lent.

The Gospel assigned for today is the story of Mary and Martha and Lazurus. Today we hear Mary say, “Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  Today we hear those words, “Lord if you had been here”, echo through our lives and through our world.

Today, one foot planted squarely in the present, we look out at the scene of a horrific plane crash and  and wonder with Mary, “Lord, if you had been here….”

We read what happens next.  Seeing the tears flow down the faces of Mary and those around her, Jesus asks, “Where have you laid him?” Someone in the crowd answers, “Lord, come and see.”

Then we hear, “Jesus wept.”   Words worth remembering as we look out on the world in which we live.  Words that bring me comfort when my heart is full with grief.  Jesus’ tears mingling with the tears of those who follow him.

There is a change of scene.  Jesus and the crowd move the tomb where Lazurus lies.  Jesus tells the crowd to roll away the stone and then shouts loudly, “Lazarus, come out.”  What strikes me about this passage is how it concludes with words Jesus says to those standing close to Lazurus, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

Imagine that:  the last words of the Lenten gospel are “unbind”–“let go.”

Today is the last day of Lent. Tomorrow we enter into Holy Week.  But today those words–unbind and let go–linger in the air.  As we enter into Holy Week a question begins to form on our lips:  What might we be called to unbind and let go as we follow Jesus to Jerusalem and we walk with Him to the Cross?

Easter will come as it does every year.  But this year, I invite you to walk slowly with me through Holy Week.  Cry out “Hosanna” with the crowds that lined the path to Jerusalem and remember that it means, “Save us.”  Hear Jesus say to his disciples–both then and now–“He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”  Listen to Jesus’ words to those gathered around him,”Walk while you have the light, lest the darkness overtake you….”  Gather at the table for one last supper with the one who walks with us.  Stay awhile to pray with Him in the garden.

Walk with Him to the Cross.  Pick up his cross-beam.  Carry it for Him.  Then wait with Mary and the others in the darkness of the nights and day that follow.

Then rise early.  Go with Mary to the tomb.  Watch as they roll away the stone.  For Easter will come again this year as it does every year.

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