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Jesus’ gift is everlasting life

Based on: Ez 37:12-14; Rom 8:8-11; Jn 11:1-45

Life that will never end is the subject of this Sunday’s readings.

In the reading from Ezekiel, God offers comfort and a better future to the Israelites as a community returning to the Promised Land after the Babylonian exile.

In the second reading, Paul tells the Romans they are called to a higher type of life that entitles them, at death, to enter heaven and to see God face to face.

In the Gospel, Martha and Mary send word to Jesus that Lazarus is ill. Two days later, Jesus and his disciples travel to Bethany and 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 where Lazarus is buried and says, “Take away the stone.” As the stone is rolled away, Jesus looks up to heaven and prays. Jesus cries out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” To everyone’s surprise, Lazarus comes out, still wrapped in the burial cloths. Jesus says, “Untie him and let him go.” After seeing what happened, many people began to believe in Jesus.

St. John dramatically tells us about this awesome miracle of Jesus bringing Lazarus back 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 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 at death and on the last day.

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: “I look forward to 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.