Kathleen N. Hattrup – published on 03/27/23
There are times in all our lives when we’ve said, “There is nothing more to be done.”
“Apainful loss, an illness, a bitter disappointment, a wrong or a betrayal suffered, a grave error committed …” So many things can lead us to give up hope. “There is nothing more to be done.” And we close the door to hope.
Pope Francis says that the message of Jesus, precisely in these situations, is a call to hope: “Jesus gives life even when it seems that all hope has gone.”
The Pope said this March 26 as he considered the Sunday Gospel, which recounts the story of the raising of Lazarus.
It is in Chapter 11 of the Gospel of John and “it does a great deal of good to read” it, the Pope said, calling it “a hymn to life.”
[There] are moments when life seems to be a sealed tomb: Everything is dark, and around us we see only sorrow and despair. Today’s miracle tells us that it is not like that, this is not the end, that in these moments we are not alone; on the contrary, it is precisely in these moments that He comes closer than ever to restore life to us.
Not only is he close, the Pope noted, but he weeps. “Today Jesus weeps with us, as he was able to weep for Lazarus.”
And at the same time Jesus invites us not to stop believing and hoping, not to let ourselves be crushed by negative feelings, which take away our tears. He approaches our tombs and says to us, as he said then: “Take away the stone” (v. 39). In these moments, it is as though we have a stone inside, and the only one capable of removing it is Jesus, with his word: “Take away the stone.”
Jesus says the same thing to us, the Pope insisted:
Take away the stone: the pain, the mistakes, even the failures, do not hide them inside you, in a dark, lonely, closed room. Take away the stone: Draw out everything that is inside. …
Throw it to me with confidence, says the Lord, I will not be outraged; throw it to me without fear, because I am with you, I care about you and I want you to start living again. And, as he did with Lazarus, he repeats to each one of us: Come out! Rise again, get back on the path, regain your confidence!
The Holy Father said that Jesus will “take you by the hand … like when you were a child learning to take your first steps. Dear brother, dear sister, take off the bandages that bind you (cf. v. 45); please, do not give in to the pessimism that depresses you, do not give in to the fear that isolates, do not give in to the discouragement caused by the memory of bad experiences, do not give in to the fear that paralyses.”
Jesus tells us, “I want you free and alive, I will not abandon you and I am with you! Everything is dark, but I am with you! Do not let yourself be imprisoned by pain, do not let hope die. Brother, sister, come back to life!”
“And how can I do this?”
“Take my hand,” and he takes us by the hand. Let you be pulled out: Aand he is capable of doing it. In these bad moments that happen to us all.