Resurrection (versus resuscitation)

July 29, 2021 – Memorial of Sts. Martha, Mary, and Lazarus

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.”
Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.”
(John 11:23-24)

Each day, I reflect upon a word or a phrase from the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

RESURRECTION: The raising of Lazarus from the dead is not a resurrection story; it is a resuscitation story. Lazarus was not resurrected, at least not at that point. Rather, he was resuscitated. He was still wrapped in his burial cloths; he was still bound. Jesus ordered, “Untie him and let him go.” Lazarus was brought back to life, returned to the earthly life he knew, and given a chance to continue living that same life. I’m sure he appreciated life more, and no longer took it for granted – but it was still an earthly life.

Understandably, this resuscitation brought joy to Lazarus and his family and friends. However, earthly joy is temporary – our ultimate goal is not resuscitation, but resurrection.

It is certainly not my intent to diminish the resuscitation of Lazarus. However, we have a desire for, and place our hope in, the resurrection. That is our ultimate goal.

We may need to be resuscitated along the way, perhaps multiple times along the way, to realize that desire. Many of us have a faith that is bound up – struggling and inactive – or perhaps even dead. What is offered to us in this world has become all that matters. Attaining things in the here and now has taken priority over attaining eternal life in heaven.

Our faith life and our personal relationship with God need to be resuscitated. We need life breathed back into the lungs of our faith. This resuscitation offers us a second chance at this life, more opportunities on earth to help us attain heaven. Our resuscitation will fuel our determination to live a faith-filled life, restore our hope in the resurrection, and reveal the glory of God.

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