“God is life,” and He is the giver of life to us. We are spiritually alive only when we are living in friendship with Him and with one another. As we continue this journey of Lent, let us pray for the gift of a deeper friendship with God and others through the God-man, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.
Every form of life is a gift from God and the readings this Sunday remind us of this fact. The First Reading from the Prophet Ezekiel (37:12-14) is a message of hope and restoration, “I am now going to open your graves… you will live.” It is God who gives us life and sustains this life in us. Only He can grant us the fullness of life and open our graves, but never without our cooperation. Opening our graves means leading us out of and away from every form of limitation that creates an obstacle to our full communion with Him.
God’s gift of life is bestowed on us in two forms: our natural life and our supernatural life. Our natural life, which is God’s first gift to us, is given by Him without any effort on our part. In order to grow in the supernatural life or in friendship with God, we must freely respond to God’s invitation through the graces which He alone gives to us. Saint Paul in the Second Reading (Romans 8:8-11) reminds us that “People who are interested only in unspiritual things can never be pleasing to God.” A good life is a life lived in such a way that the choices and aspirations of our natural life correspond to the demands of the supernatural life.
The key to our growth in the supernatural life is to nurture and deepen our friendship with the God-man, Jesus. This is the unique qualification of Lazarus in this Sunday’s Gospel (John 11:1-45), “Our friend Lazarus is resting, I am going to wake him.” Jesus said “our friend” because all those who are in friendship with Jesus Christ and through Him are friends with the Triune God, are also friends to one another. This friendship is based on their mutual choice and response to one and the same friend, Jesus. Previous to this, Mary and Martha said, “Lord, the man you love is ill” demonstrating the personal relationship and affection that must exist between us and God as an indispensable prerequisite for us to merit the supernatural life of grace which He bestows.
The Easter joy we look forward to is a real manifestation of the presence of God’s life within and around us. Ability to develop a lasting relationship and friendship with God is a concrete sign of spiritual growth and maturity. This friendship is what makes us disposed to have God in and around us always like Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. When we are gifted with an intimate friendship and love of God which overflows into a genuine love of others, our Triune God is attracted to us.
May God grant us the grace to build a strong and firm friendship with Him and may our friendship with Him, like that of Lazarus, attract Him to us always with His tremendous gifts of supernatural life and never-ending love!
May God love and bless you!
Sr. Kathleen Fitzpatrick, IHM