Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Death and Life

St. Malo Retreat Center
In January, I had the privilege of leading a retreat for about 100 teens in Denver. 

I stepped out of adoration one evening and ran into a distraught-looking girl.  I asked her how she was doing.  Stupid question given her demeanor. 

She said, “Not well.  My brother, he’s 10.  He has a chronic illness that could kill him.  I just don’t understand why this would happen.  Where is God in this?”

This is a question that has passed through most of our minds at some point.

The Gospel this Sunday provides us with keen insight into such a question.

Upon hearing of Lazarus’ illness, Jesus responds, “This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

“What good has come from this illness?”

This was the only thing I could think to say to that girl.  How is God using this illness to bring good?  Hard question to answer in our own lives, because it demands an honest look at suffering we face, instead of giving into the desire to run away from it.

She replied, “Well…(long pause)…my family is closer than we’ve ever been.  I know it’s because we’ve had to come together in this.  That’s been amazing.” 

From suffering and death, comes life. 

I’m reminded of the words of St. Paul, “In all things, God works for the good of those who love Him.”  Often, this “good” in my life, doesn’t look exactly like I think it will look.  It can even feel bad at the time. 

Do we love God?  Do we see how He is at work in our lives? 

The Gospel presents us with a challenging question, and one I feel cannot be ignored. 

Jesus says, “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?”

He is Life.  In Him is Resurrection.  He is working in suffering.  He is alive and a Presence in our lives now. 

Do you believe this?  Are you willing to look? 

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