Sherry Antonetti is a freelance writer, blogger and published author of The Book of Helen. She lives just outside of Washington, DC with her husband and their ten children.
“We look forward to the resurrection of the dead and life in the world to come.” We say this every time we say the Creed. Every time we say a Rosary. We profess the resurrection, but how much time do we spend really thinking about what the resurrection means? The Gospel illustrates the point beautifully. Martha professes the resurrection:
Martha said to him,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”
She says all of this to Christ, but then protests “Lord, it has been four days. There will be a stench,” meaning her understanding remains still theoretical at this point or somehow less than what she says. If Martha, who loves Jesus, who understands and has professed (just as Peter did) that Jesus is the Christ, does not get the reality of the Resurrection, who else doesn’t get it? Probably us.
We’ve all lost people we love, we’ve all known that pain of burying someone. What would our response be to Christ if He were to come to us and say, “I am the Resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me, will never die. Do you believe this?” I thought of my own dad, my cousin, my niece, friends, aunts, uncles, grandmothers, grandfathers, and wondered, what would the response be?
Hopefully, we will say, “Yes Lord. I’ve come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” We’d hope we could muster a mustard seed’s worth of faith in Our Lord, and recognize that even though we are dead, even though we have the stench of sin upon us, Jesus stands at the door of our hearts and knocks, asking us to roll away the stone, and respond.
No wonder Jesus feels perturbed. So Jesus reveals himself by calling, “Lazarus, come out,” and the dead man hears Christ’s voice and comes.
When you contemplate the Resurrection, imagine all those you love, present, fully present, more real than we’ve ever known them. The Resurrection is why we know we can profess with confidence that Jesus is Lord, and that our God is love. He didn’t just come to do miracles for some — he came to free and heal all who respond to His voice from the shackles of sin and death. He came as King, to invite us into the Kingdom, today and every day. So when praying and reflecting on this mystery of the rosary, pray that even those of us considered dead four days come hopping out of the cave. Pray we respond to God’s invitation with a resounding “Yes Lord.”