Monday, March 14, 2005

He is your Brother
Homily: Fifth Sunday of Lent
Readings: Ezekiel 37:12-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8:8-11; John 11:1-45
(Despite Fr. Hamilton's protests, this is essentially what I preached this weekend.)

Botulism is a very aggressive form of bacteria that results in food poisoning. If you inject this bacteria, you can not only get sick when it attacks your gullet, you can die because it eventually attacks your nervous system. The toxins released by the bacteria cause paralysis, and then you die. Sounds fun, huh?

Currently on the market, there is a product called Botox. It is used in the cosmetic surgery front to smooth wrinkles. It does this by killing nerve endings and tissues that are bunched together thus forming the wrinkle. What's the connection? Botox is made from the toxins of botulinium bacteria. If you inject this stuff too deeply, it can kill someone, and already we have heard reports in the news of this happening.

Why would anybody do this? The only person who I can think of is a person terrified of death. They can't even cotton seeing death in the mirror. So to keep death at bay, they will do anything, even risk death. This posture is unbecoming for Christians.

The raising of Lazarus is not a proclamation of Jesus as the Lord of Life. I personally think that is reserved for Easter. Jesus raises Lazarus back to this life; when we encounter the Resurrection, we will see a very different mode of existence in the Savior. This raising of Lazarus demonstrates that Jesus is the Lord of Death. Death has no more power in His presence. This man, Lazarus, is fully dead: he is in the tomb for four days. In the Jewish mindset, decomposition begins after three days. Therefore, if one possesses faith, the result is an abandonment of the fear of death.

For the Christian, ultimately the questions of death and resurrection are not questions of when or how. Death and Resurrection are questions of who. Who has control over our life? Who will save us from death? We need not look to doctors or plastic surgeons, if the true Surgeon is known to us.

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