Total Pageviews

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fifth Sunday of Lent
Raising of Lazarus
John 11:1-45

April 10, 2011
April 6, 2014

I am the resurrection and the life,
says the Lord; whoever believes
in me will never die.
Do you believe this
?” ( John 11:25-26)

Today, the fifth Sunday of Lent we hear the last recorded miracle of John’s Gospel, the raising of Lazarus. Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary, was a dear friend of Jesus. So it seemed odd to his followers when Jesus did not go immediately to Bethany upon hearing of Lazarus’ grave illness.

After two days Jesus and his disciples left for Bethany. When they arrived, “Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.” This is significant, because the Jewish people believed that the soul remained in the body for three days after death, so to say someone had been dead for four days meant that they were “not just merely dead but really most sincerely dead.”

Jesus performs this miracle in the presence of a great crowd. Though he could have cured Lazarus from his illness before he died, he did not in order that God might be glorified and that the crowds “may believe.” The raising of Lazarus also points to Jesus’ resurrection as well as ours.

Death may be a natural part of our human life, but from the beginning it was not the intention of God for us to experience. In fact the only thing God asked Adam and Eve not to eat was from the “tree of knowledge of good and evil…for from the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die.” (Genesis 2:17) Death entered the world through Satan’s pride in himself and envy of God, not through the plan of God. Jesus saw death as an enemy to which he came to overcome and to which he did, thankfully for us, in his passion death and resurrection.

Reflecting on the Gospel message of the resurrection of Lazarus, Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his Message for Lent 2011: “On the fifth Sunday, when the resurrection of Lazarus is proclaimed, we are faced with the ultimate mystery of our existence: “I am the resurrection and the life… Do you believe this?” (John 11: 25-26). For the Christian community, it is the moment to place with sincerity – together with Martha – all of our hopes in Jesus of Nazareth: “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world” (John 11: 27).

Communion with Christ in this life prepares us to overcome the barrier of death, so that we may live eternally with him. Faith in the resurrection of the dead and hope in eternal life open our eyes to the ultimate meaning of our existence: God created men and women for resurrection and life, and this truth gives an authentic and definitive meaning to human history, to the personal and social lives of men and women, to culture, politics and the economy. Without the light of faith, the entire universe finishes - shut within a tomb devoid of any future, any hope.”

In today’s gospel, Lazarus is raised from the dead, but he will not escape eventual physical death. This miracle illustrates that when one comes to know and be in communion with Jesus, one is already in some way raised from death, with eternal life beginning here on earth before physical death as Jesus carefully unwraps the “burial bands” of sin that bind one's life and leads one on their journey home to him and eternal life.

Jesus is “the resurrection and the life; whoever believes [in him], even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes will never die. Do you believe this?”

For items related to the Catholic Faith
please visit Lynn's Timeless Treasures

Raising of Lazarus  - Fra Angelico
Raising of Lazarus - Palma Vecchio
Raising of Lazarus - Caravaggio
Raising of Lazarus -  Rembrandt van Rijn

No comments:

Post a Comment