The Gift of a Reprieve

TulipsFifth Sunday of Lent -- John 11: 1-45

When Jesus raised his friend, Lazarus, from the dead, Lazarus received an unexpected second chance. Suddenly, it was the "first day of the rest of his life." All his unresolved problems and debts were back in his lap. In the past, he probably quarreled with his neighbor or yelled at his sister or conveniently ignored an injustice in his town. With his life restored, his responsibilities to be a loving man returned. Now he had another chance to do things right. The gospel doesn't tell us how he made out.

How often we say, "If I had it to do over again...," yet the day ends before we make right our "trespasses." What are we waiting for?

When disagreements in the family turn ugly, when we lash out without thinking, when we pit out that smart remark instead of a well-considered reply--how we wish we had acted differently. We go to bed praying for just one more chance to replace the slap with a hug and the insult with an apology. Sadly, death sometimes deprives a person of a second chance. But the story of Lazarus puts us on notice to be the best person we can each day.

The grace of Lent is that we are invited to look honestly at ourselves and try to do better, with God's help. Maybe we feel dead in our spirit. With God's grace, we can return to life and have a do-over. When morning dawns, we can be like Lazarus and embrace a second chance to love. We are bound to extend the same reprieve to others that Jesus gives to us. We are called to have mercy. Who needs you to forgive them while it is still today? 

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