When my dad died of cancer and my mom passed from an infection, I deeply grieved their loss. The death of loved ones confronts us with the big questions of life: Why are we here? What survives beyond the grave?

What touches my heart most deeply about this week’s gospel is Jesus’ reaction to the death of his friend, Lazarus. He weeps.

Even knowing that he will call Lazarus from the tomb does not spare Jesus feeling sharp pangs of loss.  A grieving God? The Almighty Lord of the Universe weeping? Behold – a vulnerable God!

Once again Jesus shows himself to be Emmanuel—God with us in all things—but sin. He shares our sorrows; he bears our grief; he weeps with us in our hour of need. He knows the struggles of all our hearts. And his promise to us who believe in him is not mere resuscitation but resurrection.

—J. Michael Sparough, S.J. is a Retreat Master and Spiritual Director at the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House outside Chicago. He blogs weekly at  www.heartoheart.org/Lent