Enough to Make Jesus Weep
Lent Reflection
Father Dean Smith, Holy Angels, Aurora, Parochial vicar
March 23, 2023
O nly in the Gospel for this 5th Sunday of Lent do we hear about Jesus weeping. And that is for a very good reason: that Gospel depicts the only reason for Jesus to weep. 
Jesus did not need to cry over 5,000 hungry people; He miraculously fed them. 
Jesus did not need to weep over those suffering from paralysis, hemorrhage, leprosy, blindness or demon possession; He simply healed these and many other conditions. 
He did not have to weep over His disciples possibly drowning on a nighttime, storm-tossed sea; He simply walked out to them and calmed the storm. 
He did not even break down pleading in tears before Pilate, Caiaphas or Herod; all of whom had the power to kill Him.
Why, then, should Jesus cry over the loss of an admittedly beloved friend, especially since both of that friend’s sisters were convinced that Jesus’ presence would have saved Lazarus’ life, and more especially when He took days to get around to going to Lazarus’s home? 
If He loved Lazarus so much, why didn’t He get a move on?
The key to why Jesus wept on this visit to Bethany is concealed in the English translation. As Jesus was approaching Lazarus’ grave, that translation says that Jesus was “troubled;” but the Greek original very explicitly says that Jesus “troubled / disturbed Him-self.” Jesus was the divine Son of God! How could He “trouble Him-self” — even to the point of tears? 
Only by doing the one thing that God could regret!
And here’s one more question: How long was Lazarus in the tomb? 
It’s a trick question. Lazarus’ dead body was in the tomb for four days, but when Jesus said to roll away the rock from Lazarus’s tomb-opening, it was to, so to speak, let air in as well as let Lazarus out. 
Lazarus — body and soul — was only in the tomb for the length of time that it took him, surrounded with grave-clothes, to shuffle out of his burial cave.
Jesus knew that Lazarus’ soul had been in the company of Abraham and Moses and Elijah and Noah and David and all the righteous people of the Old Testament. Heaven, the very environment of God, had not yet been opened to humans, because Jesus, in His human nature, had not yet died and risen to open Heaven to a human nature. But Lazarus was in what was once properly called “Paradise.” 
Many people confuse “paradise” with Heaven — but, originally, Paradise, strictly speaking, referred specifically to the place where the souls of the righteous went who lived BEFORE Jesus’s Resurrection and Ascension.
The one way that the Son of God could “trouble Himself” was to do the one thing that God could never wish for a righteous person: that that person should have to leave Paradise, once there, to return to this life — which is anything but Paradise! 
Jesus did not weep for the loss of his friend; He wept for what His friend had to lose: namely, life in paradise for a return to this life, where Lazarus would only have to, ultimately, suffer and die again.
When we are completely free of sin — as the newly baptized, or as those who have confessed and been absolved — we are then actually citizens of Heaven. But if and when we sin again, our souls are exiled back into this mortal life, with the risk of Hell.
It’s enough to make Jesus weep.
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