We all are aware of what I call “last times.” For example, if a coworker is retiring from a position, and is not a personal friend or neighbor, there is a chance that will be the last time you will see that person. If an acquaintance is moving far away, you might not see that person again. When you have finished a college course, you don’t plan to see the teacher again. You hear about an actor who is ailing, and you conclude you may have seen him on the big screen for the last time. Your teenager just passed her driving road test, so you may have been her regular driver for the last time. Or how about the last time you changed your little child’s diaper, because now he is potty-trained?
I know, some “last times” we don’t miss, but others come unexpectedly, and we are sadly surprised. A lesson we try to learn is to savor the good times and experiences with special people. We attempt to muster up the energy and wisdom to bring our best selves with us into our everyday interactions. Unplanned “last times” can lead to regrets if we aren’t careful.
When we read the story of Lazarus (John 11:1-45), we know that Martha and Mary, his sisters, and all the friends and neighbors would have thought that they had seen last of Lazarus, because he had died. However Jesus called him forth alive from the tomb four days later. In today’s gospel passage, we read of Lazarus in attendance at a dinner given for Jesus in Bethany. Obviously, Lazarus had not yet eaten his last supper.