A series of Lenten (and Easter) Reflections based on the signs in the Gospel of John by Fr Francis Lim, SJ, every Thursday (except Tuesdays during Holy Week and Easter Week).
The Gospel of John is also known as the Book of Signs. John portrays these signs as works of wonder by Jesus in order for believers to deepen their faith in Jesus. Through these reflections, Fr Francis hopes to bring our parishioners to a deeper personal relationship with Jesus.
Reflections on the Raising of Lazarus
Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead in John 11 (11 April)
What are the things that bind or blind me? How is Jesus the resurrection and the life to me?
What are the things that bind me? I think I am being haunted by my past. I have been struggling to let go of my painful past – full of hurt, discrimination and impartiality, seeing myself as a victim of my parents’ unpleasant life. My parents’ bitterness and quarrelsome nature fill my memories of growing up, in a way have made me who I am today – lack of confidence, trust and reclusive in dealing with people. Nothing seems to please my parents – there is never enough and their expectations seem endless. In my family, there is only one way – my parents’ way, we, the children, are never seen as individuals who have our own ideas and ways of life. Trust me, I do try very hard to get what they want, but as I grow older, I am getting worn and impatient. Acknowledgement is what I have never expected, but why still so many moans and groans after things expected are done accordingly? This is what I do not understand.
I think this is what binds me and holds me back – what has I not done enough, the grudges of not being appreciated and being discriminated as a daughter of the family. I become emotionally numb, stone-cold and insensitive in many ways especially socially. I also find forgiveness an unbelievable ideal as I have guarded myself as well as I can, not to cross any line and to maintain distance from others, just focus and do my work but why there are still some who have crossed the invisible line that I have drawn. For immediate family members, I find it easier to kind of forget but for others, I struggle. The impact – I become more withdrawn and the gap is deepened.
How is Jesus the resurrection and life to me? I think I open up a bit after embracing Christianity, at least I am out from the cocoon that I have weaved myself in, not in big way, but in many small ways. I am interested in “living,” I mean “real living” with “real people” around me. I feel more secure as I know God is always watching my back. When I doubt or wallow in self-pity because of problems of all sorts, I “talk” to Him and I find this very comforting. I think I am made more patient and tolerant because of Him. The inner rage has subsided and I am calmer and I am less irritable. This helps me see things more clearly and the best of all, all things are laced with optimism, not all grey and morbid as they used to be. I think that is great! With God’s grace and guidance, I hope to do better in the future.
What are the things that blind me?
My ego and pride, my stubbornness, sometimes lack of faith in the Lord.
How is Jesus the resurrection and life to me?
He is my hope, my trust and my love in life. He gives me life so that I can share the Good News to everybody around me. Because He lives I can face tomorrow. I am brave because with Jesus everything is possible.
In life, we are always bound by the fulfilment of our daily activities to perfection, of climbing the ladder of success to acquire fame and worldly wealth which sadly becomes “our Master” and also being too easily influenced by other beliefs outside the Church’s teachings. We are so blinded by these earthly desires that we lose touch with Jesus and fail to “seek ye first the Kingdom of God.” We fail to experience His goodness, greatness, love and mercy and faithfulness; this God who is “our Rock and our Salvation.” In all, we fail to recognise His presence in our lives. Still, He loves us unconditionally.
The Lord’s resurrection is a perfect sign of hope to us as it gives the assurance that like Him, He will also raise our mortal bodies to enjoy eternal life with Him. The words of Jesus: “… whoever believes in me, though he may die will live … ” bring comfort and ignite my faith in Him because Death “hath no power over Him.”
[1/8] Reflections on the Wedding of Cana
[2/8] Reflections on the Healing of the Royal Official’s Son
[3/8] Reflections on the Healing by the Pool of Bethesda
[4/8] Reflections on the Feeding of the Five Thousand
[5/8] Reflections on Jesus Walking on Water