The stone will be rolled away!
Since the earliest days of the Church, Lent has been seen as a desert experience, a time of solitary reflection on our life of faith while participating in more fervent prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. As much as we engage with others during Lent, we are focused on preparing our own hearts. This year instead of a desert experience, we are more likely to relate to Lazarus being placed in the tomb. Our hands and feet are bound and there is no one to roll the stone away. We are cut off from the land of the living.
But that is also the spiritual journey of Lent. Our sinfulness has cut us off from so much of the life God intends for us. Our sins keep us from true movement toward God. We roll a stone of isolation and despair to seal us in a tomb of our own making. As Jesus had the stone rolled away from Lazarus’ tomb and had his feet and hands unbound, so too does the Son of God roll the stone away from our hearts to allow God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness to free us from all that would tie us down.
And then on Easter morning, the Holy women and the apostles found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty – the tomb where Christ freed us from sin and death!
Let us celebrate how God has freed us! Let us celebrate the great sacrifice made on our behalf! Let us celebrate the stone that has been rolled away!
Fr. Jim Murphy, CSB