“Untie him and set him free”. These words from John’s Gospel on the raising of Lazarus from the dead have always struck me with a poignancy that truly affects my heart. More than just the physical removal of the bandages from the now “brought back to life” Lazarus, the passage has always impressed on me a meaning for Lent that we as Christians and particularly, myself as a consecrated religious, should take note of in our Lenten times of contemplation.
Jesus restores Lazarus to life and his first words to the those is the crowd is to untie the bonds of death that still bind Lazarus to the land of the dead. This too, I find, is the message that Jesus is giving me during this Lenten season. I am being given the chance by Jesus to be “untied” from all of the bindings that keep me in the darkness of “death”. Jesus calls me to come forth from my tomb of isolation and despair into the brightness of a new life in Jesus. Jesus gives us life and frees us from those things that bind us down…resentments, anger, envy, jealousy and complacency.
My call to religious life is one way for me to cut the ties that bind me to the bands of sin. I can through Lenten reflection and penitence give my life to Jesus in a way that frees me to live a life of love and joy. I can be brought back to life and live of life of service and commitment to God’s ways and not my own self-centeredness – a life that leads from the tomb to a new birth in the womb of a Christian community of Norbertines who will continually call me forth, untie me and set me free to proclaim God’s love and joy to the world. May reflection on this reading do the same for you.