The big picture

This week’s Gospel is the epic story of Jesus raising the dead Lazarus. The homilist liked this to the current pandemic situation we are suffering from and it might be helpful for us to understand the eternal question we have – “Why does God allow suffering?”

In the story, when Jesus had gotten the news that Lazarus is ill, he did not rush over to see his friend. He stayed two more days before heading back to Judea. He then says to his disciples “Lazarus is dead; and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

Therein lies the aha moment for us to ponder.

God allows bad things to happen, but he has a bigger plan in mind. He knew he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. But for that to happen, Lazarus had to die.

The big picture is not always easy to visualise, especially when you’re the protagonist.

When I lost my first wife to cancer almost a decade ago, I could not fathom what exactly God wanted of my life. I felt destroyed, betrayed, because I had just returned to Church a couple of years before.

But I now have a second shot at life with a loving wife and two beautiful kids.

I’ve always asked myself which reality would have been better and how would I choose which life to have if I could? But it would be impossible to do so. Its the same as that hypothetical quiz if your mother and your wife fell into the sea and you only had one free hand to save, who would you catch?

Maybe the right response is just to accept what God has allowed, and to make the best of the situation and continue to seek his will for us and to live it out.

Similarly, in the pandemic, all we can do is to pray for mercy and to make the best of the circumstance. And if we are not down and out, to lift our hands to help others in need – to be Jesus to them.

Lazarus was raised from the dead. To continue his journey on earth.

We can also do the same.

Remove the things that bind us. And live.

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