Beyond Cheap Love
There is a moment in the Gospels where we see Jesus crying. His friend Lazarus has died. Jesus is greatly upset. We are told however that someone mistrusts Jesus’ tears, thinks he is a hypocrite and disparages him: “Could he not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”.
We have to acknowledge that this is our voice.
- We think that God would prove his love for us more by preventing death than by sharing it and its consequences with us.
Jesus comes to be with us in our pain.
- He does not look at our suffering from the outside, but endures it with us.
- He is distressed and cries with us.
Despite all this however we do not believe that he means it, we question the reality of his concern for us.
This terrible sentence shows how compromised our conception of God and of love is. Our love is cheap.
- We think that we can help others without losing our comfort, without authentic compassion, that is ‘suffering with’ another.
- This caricature of love attests that we still are prisoners of the tomb of our unbelief, enclosed in our hearts of stone.
God comes to open the tombs of our unbelief by removing our hearts of stone and giving us hearts of flesh (Ez 36.26).
He persuades us of his love for us not by trying to impress us, to seduce us with magical tricks or miracles that would set him above us.
God comes to us in Jesus not armed with power, but with his determination to embrace the whole of our human plight, included the experience of death, included our grief.
This is God’s bewildering way of fulfilling Ezekiel’s prophecy: “Thus says the Lord: I am going to open your graves”.
Who could have foreseen that the Lord would open the graves not from the outside, but from within?
Who could have predicted that he would open them not through a show of power and strength, but by sharing our tears? This is what consoles us in our times of sorrow and grief, when we are tempted to say: "Lord, where are you?". The Lord is crying with us, suffering with us. Through his compassion, he sows in us the seeds of faith and hope which blossom into resurrection and life.