Year A Scrutinies
What is the greatest miracle in the world? Is it the Wedding at Cana? The miracle of the fish? The healing of the many people who are sick and diseased? Is it the feeding of the five-thousand or the walking on the water? Or is it as today’s Gospel says; the miraculous resurrection of Lazarus? I would think that one could make a case that of all the extraordinary, astounding and astonishing miracles that Jesus has performed, none has been greater than this most awesome expression of God’s life giving power.
Now in light of this realization that Christ has performed the greatest miracle in the world what does it mean, then, when he says to his disciples (as he says to us today) in John’s Gospel, “Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (Jn 14:12-14).
Greater works than these … greater works than these? We are told we will do greater works that those of the Our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!? I say that with an exclamation point and a question mark as well, for frankly, I find it quite intimidating that the Truth tells us that we will do greater works than those that the disciples had witnessed at that we hear proclaimed year after year.
What could be greater than raising someone from the dead? I believe the answer is raising those from the living dead; our brothers and sisters who share this holy existence of life among us on this earth. Many of us have experienced the life of mediocrity. We have in many different ways settled for an altered way of life because of lost dreams. We have surrendered our self-esteem to negative persuasions, and have settled for just getting by. We may have lost our desire to cooperate with God’s Divine plan for our lives; we may have fallen into the nightmare of compromise filled with regret, dejection, and hopelessness. We may have fallen upon a path of disdain for any respect for human life, a track with alcohol and drug addictions, or even a journey in which some of us shared in the despair, bleakness, and fear of a life that was filled with “unanswered prayers and nights of tears.”
But there is hope! There is joy! There is Jesus and his promise to us all: “You will do greater deeds than these.” We, my brothers and sisters, can and must be ready to follow in the Lord’s footsteps and raise those in need from the living dead.
How are we to do this? Look at the example of our patron St. Francis of Assisi: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, make strangers welcome, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned, clothe the naked.
What is the greatest miracle in the world? The wine, the fish, the loaves? … It is the gift of life! God is challenging us today to resurrect those from the living dead; those who look upon themselves with disgrace and terror; those who live in fear and failure and thrash hopelessly and helplessly in their own image of worthlessness and mockery.
My brothers and sisters, we must raise our hands in prayer and in honor to the Almighty and ask for the promise that Jesus foretold: to share in his ministry; to perform the greater miracle; to raise those from the living dead. As we seek and find those in need we will then cry out in a loud voice “Lazarus, come out!”
– Br. Matthew Hillman, T.O.R.