Today’s Gospel account of Jesus, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus can be a difficult one to hear, as it spans the whole breadth of human emotion: From the mourning that comes from the loss of a loved one, to the frustration of feeling that something – anything – else could have been done, to the joy of a new reality emerging from the life-giving presence of Christ. It is good for us to ponder these realities, to be prepared to face them when they arrive, and the office of Care and Wellness Ministry here at St. Francis of As- sisi offers many opportunities to do so?

But focusing only on what happens outside of the tomb can obscure another reality pointed out by the Gospel account: that each of us will find ourselves on the other side of the stone; either figuratively or literally. I will not dwell much upon the literal, as I have little experience there. However, as pas- toral staff, we often hear and are invited to share in the strug- gles and challenges of those in our community. These stories invite me to consider how in my own life, I have been stuck in “tombs” of various kinds. Whether brought about by my own sin, or that of another, I can feel trapped – or trap myself – in habits, desires, self-deception, and pride. These can cut me off from living a life of wholeness from my sisters and brothers in Christ. In these times, I find that all too often I scramble against the stone, seeking that edge or crack where I might find a grip or way to shove wide the door, a fight that I cannot win alone.

Christ calls us forth from these tombs, and bids our brothers and sisters to loose the funeral wrappings that bind us. As we prepare for the easter season, I invite you to explore the Family Life communities of fellowship and faith formation that provide opportunities for meeting with other brothers and sisters in Christ. You can learn more at http://bit.ly/SFAFamLife, or give me a call at 919-847-8205×244.