“Unbind him and let him free.”
Bethany, Judea, c. 31 A.D. In a small town outside Jerusalem, nearly a full 2,000 years ago, Jesus performed a miracle that stunned people then and now; he raised someone from the dead, I mean really dead, as in four days in the tomb. John cites this miracle as Jesus’ last before his own passion and death, and it is traditionally read by the Church at the Sunday Mass just before Palm Sunday. This story in John is rich and deep, with many themes running through it including the humanity of Jesus in his tears for his friend, his divinity in raising him from the dead, and more broadly in his both fatherly and brotherly love and care for all of us. The last words of the passage, “Unbind him and let him free” John 11:44 are as good a prelude as any in the gospels for our upcoming Holy Week retreat called “Fear to Joy.” Many of us have been living in fear for a while, and in many ways, “dead” to the world as we knew it. We are rising soon. Let’s rise with Him. Let’s move from Fear to true Joy, not the fake sugar high stuff promised by the world. Let’s let Jesus transform us. Let’s let him love us. As he did for his friend here, let’s let him unbind us and set us free. See you next Monday night!