Posted on March 31st, 2015
One was angry with Him, the other confused.
They were sisters, and their brother was dead.
Do you know the panic, when you’ve called for help, and help is not coming fast enough?
Do you know the terror, when death has come for your brother, your husband, your father? Nothing matters, because everything that is anything is gone.
That’s how these sisters felt.
And besides that, disappointment.
No – betrayal.
What a friend we have in Jesus? Some friend. He’s not there when you need Him.
He even skipped the funeral.
Are you angry with God? Or worse, maybe you find it hard to believe at all. It’s been a long time since anything happened. The tombs have closed on your brothers, and sisters, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives. No one is coming to help.
Jesus made them wait. Why? He teaches them both that He weeps with them, sharing their suffering, but also that in Him is the power of resurrection. He answers in the best time, which we cannot comprehend.
This is why the crowds gathered in Jerusalem the first Palm Sunday. They came for the resurrection of the dead.
Why have you come here, to this House named after the One who rides a donkey? What were you expecting?
One has a difficult marriage, another seeks a spouse, while the widow grieves the husband who is no more. What can Jesus do?
There are those whom you have hurt, and those whom you have failed to help. Will your life be changed, if you meet the One whose name you sing?
You gave something up for Lent, and soon found excuses and loopholes for your own resolutions.
What is wrong with us?
The death that caused Lazarus’ decaying body to stink causes our own lives to stink.
Our first parents tasted the tree of the knowledge of evil. We, however, have feasted on that fruit so that our minds are sick, calling good “evil,” and evil, “good.” Do you sin intentionally, certain you will find forgiveness afterward? This is death.
This is why He came. To raise the dead.
We who are in the lowest cry out, “Hosanna in the highest!”
“Hosanna” means, “Save!”
This day the Church prays, “You, Jesus, who are in the highest, save the world that you brought into being, and blot out our sins, just as you previously dried the tears of Mary and Martha” (Romanus Melodus, adapt.).
Even a son who has wandered far in this vale of tears, even a daughter who has scorned her parents’s counsel, will they not be welcomed home again? The Father welcomes home His children, because they are His. He formed us out of clay, and comes to save us at the right time.
That is why God has brought you here, this day: because He desires to give you His gifts.
There was another crowd that assembled later in Holy Week. Offered Jesus, they cried out, “His blood be on us and on our children!” They meant it for his death, but these words, too, we must appropriate for our own. His blood is on us, for our sins are on Him. You are guilty. Our whole race is guilty.
But “His blood be on us and on our children!” is also what Mark and Melissa mean when they bring Elizabeth to be baptized today. In Baptism, we offer our children up to God, and say, “This one is Yours. Save her!”
Hosanna, “Save,” is the song most associated with this day. It has become a song of joy, because we know that it is accomplished. You don’t see it yet. Your wife needs surgery. Your son is struggling. Your career is stalled. Yet still we sing, “Hosanna!”, “Save!” not only because we need it, but because we know He will do it.
So we leave here new and different today. The encounter with Jesus cannot leave us the same. He raises the dead, and puts to flight the demons that haunt you. We follow Him to the cross, we rest with Him in the tomb, knowing that He will bring us to the raising of our bodies and the renewal of the world.