Saturday, March 24, 2018

Lazarus: A witness to glory

Today we celebrate Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. While we were in the Holy Land last year, we were able to visit the tomb of Lazarus in Bethany, and it was a powerful moment of prayer for me, because Lazarus has taught me so much the past couple years. My favorite aspect of the story of Lazarus is the reminder that we are all called to witness to God’s glory, to allow others access to Christ in us, though we can frequently feel shy about it.

One of the Gospel readings tomorrow (the one for Palm Sunday, not the Annunciation) says, “Then a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead” (Jn 12:9). The Jews wanted to, in some way, see this miracle of Jesus with their own eyes. They wanted to see Lazarus for no reason except because Jesus had done profound things in his life. And is this not now a responsibility of Lazarus – to witness to God’s glory? I remember being embarrassed after sending my home parish a letter which included a beautiful meditation God had gifted me, which transformed me. But who am I to hold back from sharing with others the miracles our Bridegroom has worked in my life?

Last year, as I prayed with the icon of Palm Sunday, I was struck by something similar. The children are throwing the clothes under the feet of the donkey. Of course, I know the story, but in the icon, something hit me for the first time – Christ’s feet are not on the ground. He is not at risk of getting dirty. They are putting their clothes out for the donkey to step on. Did that donkey do anything to deserve such treatment? Only being a vessel for the Bridegroom’s glory.

I find these two incidents very related because…what did Lazarus “do” to allow others to see God’s glory? Well…not much. He died. He didn’t raise himself from the dead. All the power was God’s. What did the donkey “do” to deserve special treatment? Again…not much. He just let Jesus do His thing. Sometimes I struggle to share with others the work Christ has done in my own life, but Lazarus reminds me of part of a homily I recently heard: when God gives us a gift, be it a particular strength or a consolation…that gift is not ours to keep for ourselves, to grasp with a tight grip. We must let Him use that same gift for others, through us. This takes discernment, to be sure. There are parts of our heart and parts of our prayer life that are meant to be between only us and our Spouse. However, when you feel that tug on your heart that is Jesus asking you to let others see the parts of your life He has resurrected, to let Him use you as a vessel of His glory, I encourage you to say “yes” to that, recognizing with all humility that you are showing not your own power, but the power of our all-loving, all-merciful Savior.

Sister Natalia


  1. Beautiful reflection, Sr. Natalia! See you soon! XO

  2. Thank you, Sister Natalia. I often feel like the donkey, not knowing how to share my joy.


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