“Lord, if you had been here…..” (John 11:21)
I just can’t believe it!!! Not even two months ago we were welcoming the Christ child, then, suddenly….the Magi appear, then, the Child is dedicated in the temple, then baptized, then on His mission to enlighten the nations to God’s saving grace. WHEWWWWW….and here we are at Lent already !!!!!!!!
What is the season of Lent anyway? Lent is an old English word meaning ‘lengthen’. Lent is observed in spring, when the days begin to get longer. Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days.
Lent, in the early Christian church was also known, and still today in some traditions, as a time of preparation for Baptism which would take place during the Easter Vigil. The season of this preparation provides many biblical texts in which the people of God both strive and fail to live faithfully in the mind of Christ. But the grace of God provides a never ending spring of encouragement. Sunday by Sunday we see just how complicated and difficult it is to live in the servant mind of Christ.
In these forty days of dry bones and lack of vision, God points us toward the paschal mystery to come on the horizon and the saving waters that await our baptismal renewal.
Our only real hope is every bit complex and mysterious…….those waters of Baptism toward which the church of self-emptying Christ is moving…….the waters of death, then life…..of dying, then rising….of sin swallowed up, then life given and renewed.
Martha confronts Jesus, our fountain of grace, with “Lord, if you had been here……” But isn’t that just the point? Christ was here….is here…all along…and we are too pre-occupied, too dried up and deserted in our own self-centeredness to notice.
Yet, Baptismal grace calls us out of that valley….out of the tomb…out of the place of desperation where our own agendas have landed us. Sunday after Sunday, Jesus stands before the tomb of the assembly and calls us back to life !!!!!
The Risen One stands at the tomb of our defeated lives calling…. ”Come out !”
Each and every day is a new day in which to “let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.”……if only he was here…..He IS…….. ….COME OUT !!!!!!!!!