Photo illustration by Phil Younk
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Based on the Gosepl of John 11: 1-45
All in God’s timing and for God’s glory. Lazarus and his two sisters, Martha and Mary, were close friends of Jesus. Whenever Jesus traveled to Bethany, he visited them.
In this Sunday’s Gospel, Martha and Mary send word to Jesus that Lazarus is ill. Two days later, Jesus and his disciples travel to Bethany. When they arrive, they find out Lazarus is dead and has already been buried for four days.
Martha and Mary are sad, crying and upset at Jesus’ delayed arrival. Jesus sees their sadness and that of the people with them. He cries also as he expresses his grief at Lazarus’ death.
Jesus goes to the cave-like tomb in the hillside where Lazarus is buried. He stands there and says, “Take away the stone.” As the stone is rolled away, Jesus looks up to heaven and prays. Jesus then cries out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” To everyone’s surprise, Lazarus comes out, still wrapped in the burial cloths. Jesus says, “Take off his burial cloths so he can see and walk.” After seeing what happened, many people began to believe in Jesus.
In the last two Lenten Sunday Gospels, Jesus has talked about new life – the Samaritan woman and “living water,” the blind man and “eyes of faith.” Now, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead and brings him back to life.
St. John dramatically tells us about this awesome miracle of Jesus bringing Lazarus to life to show us what is coming: Jesus’ own death and Resurrection – the very root of our faith.
The risen Lazarus is different from the risen Jesus. Lazarus will still have to die again and his body and soul will be reunited on the last day. Jesus will rise and never die again and will call us all at death and on the last day.
Because of Jesus’ life, death and Resurrection, we will rise to eternal life. Jesus told Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” We believe this as part of our faith and profess it in the creed at Mass: “We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.”
Jesus, Lord of life and death, thank you for the gift of everlasting life.