“Unite Him and Let Him Go!”
This week for the 5th Sunday of Lent, we hear from the Gospel of John. We hear again about Mary and Martha in Bethany and the raising of their brother Lazarus. In this reading we hear Jesus being moved to tears, but we also witness a revelation of His power with the resurrection of Lazarus, a foreshadowing of His own resurrection. So why this reading during Lent. Lent is a time for us to re-examine those things that bind us and keep us from being like Martha who “go out to meet the Lord.” Martha and Mary serve as great archetypes to witness the active and contemplative life. In this story Mary stay behind and Martha goes out. Martha again identifies with doing the work, so much so that her work brings her out to meet the Lord. Too often, we bind ourselves in our work that we fail to meet the Lord where we are and need moments to be reminded of the sanctification that can come from work. We need to both be reflective and active with our work, so that we can unbind ourselves and go out to meet our Lord.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s work, The Divine Milieu, looks at the role of our activity in relationship toward union with God, followed by a reflection on those passive part of our lives and how these two parts of a human’s life is participatory in the Divine life. For Teilhard de Chardin, “Our work appears to us, in the main, as a way of earning our daily bread. But its essential virtue is on a higher level; through it we complete in ourselves the subject of the divine union; and through it again we somehow make to grow in stature the divine term of the one with whom we are united, our Lord Jesus Christ.” Teilhard later comments on how our work in various ways, which our daily work, is connected to the work of Jesus Christ. In our work, Teilhard reminds us: “Never, at any time, ‘whether eating or drinking,’ consent to do anything without first of all realizing its significance and constructive value in Christo Jesu, and pursuing it with all your might. This is not simply a commonplace precept for salvation: it is the very path to sanctity for each man according to his state and calling.”
“Never do anything with first of all realizing its significance and constructive value in Christo Jesu.” This phrase reminds us that to unbind ourselves that our primary world view must engage in the sacramental, viewing all the world as a communication and revealing God’s presence to us. When we can view all the world around us as communicating a Divine reality, then truly we will be called forth from our own tombs, untied and sent in the Resurrection.
 Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Divine Milieu, trans., Bernard Wall, First Perennial Classics ed. (New York: HarperCollins, 2001). 27.
 Ibid., 30-31.
- 5th Sunday of Lent 2012 (seedsofcommunion.wordpress.com)
- Fractal Faith? A reflection on the readings for the IV Sunday of Lent (biltrix.com)