Saturday, 9 April 2011


"Lazarus, here! Come out"  These are the amazing words with which Jesus brings Lazarus back to life in this Sunday's Gospel. On this last Sunday before Palm Sunday and Holy Week, the Church offers us Our Lord's most astonishing miracle or sign - the raising of a dead man, his friend Lazarus.
But I've always been taken with what Jesus says next. "Unbind him, let him go free" he says to the gathered people. It seems to me that these words are a command, a pleading from the heart of God to us - to unbind one another, to let one another go free.
Now we can apply this to ourselves first. What binds me, what constricts my spirit, what stops me being the person that God has made me to be? What kind of fears, anxieties, habits or addictions do I have that distort my spirit? Ever since the Exodus that lies behind the Passover and Maundy Thursday, and reappears in the Readings of the Easter Vigil, God has been anxious to reveal himself as one who frees. 
Then I must go on to ask myself whether I have bound up other people. Has our country bound up other peoples. Who are those in our world who are most in need of setting free? Sometimes our tying up other people can masquerade as something more attractive. How many marriages and families are wrecked by manipulation masked as love, love whose true purpose should be to set us free. The shock and horror of clerical abuse of young people is compounded by its masquerading as priestly pastoral care, and cover-up of the same has been seen as doing the right thing.
"Lazarus, here. Come out!" A clarion call for Christianity. Jesus calls us forth from the darkness, but very often we have to do the unbinding - and sometimes the one who needs unbinding may be ourselves. "Unbind him. Let her go free."
The pictures show a statue of Lazarus unbound at an Addiction Rehab Centre in the southern USA.

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