The Word is a gift. We have received without payment and we should freely share. When we share, we learn from others’ insights, develop new insights, and understand what God is saying to us. Once we develop this understanding, we grow or relationship with God and strive to do what he tells us to do and a little at a time we become like Christ. This way, we become our best and make this world a better place for ourselves and others’ in our unique and special way. When each of us do this, the transformation is greater and the impact profound.
Fifth Sunday of Lent
John 11: 1 – 45
There are many levels in understanding the message of today’s gospel: “The Raising of Lazarus from the dead”. As we repeatedly spend time with the Word and the commentary, we will experience a deepening of our insights. If you find something that you are uncomfortable with, do not fight it or try to argue it, just set it aside and move on. In his time the Lord will open you to other insights.
We need to take the story out of the realm of a historical account of an extra ordinary event. The evangelist is teaching profound truths and so our reading should seek the message behind the text. Be aware of the profound symbolism here.
Read John 11: 1 – 45 at least twice: reading it aloud even if you are alone.
In this reading John presents the last of the signs which explains Jesus mission:
Jesus changes water into wine. 2: 1 – 12
Cure of the royal official’s son. 4: 43 – 54
Healing on the Sabbath. 5: 1 – 18
Bread for all. 6: 1 – 15
Walking on the water. 6: 16 – 21
Jesus heals the man born blind. 9: 1 – 12
Resurrection of Lazarus 11: 1 – 45
There are two significant repetitionsin this text.
21Martha said to Jesus,
“If you had been here my brother would not have died, 22but I know that, even now, whatever you ask of God, he will grant you.”
25Jesus said: “I am the resurrection. If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live, 26and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
32Mary went to Jesus, and as soon as she saw him, threw herself at his feet, saying, “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.”
Both statementsare answered as Jesus expresses the core of his mission. “I am the resurrection.”
John tells the story of Lazarus not to raise our hopes that we will be brought back to this mortal life, but to support our trust thatwe are already enjoying the eternal life of intimacy with Jesus and his Fatherand when we come to physical death, we will be raised by Jesus into the life beyond death where our communion in love will continue for ever.1
Mary and Martha’s repeated faith assures us that it is God’s desire that all will enjoy eternal life. Jesus’ question, “Do you believe this?”is directed at us.
Each day we witness resurrection in our lives and in the lives of others. We make mistakes, we harm ourselves and others and yet God picks us up and restores our intimacy with Jesus and the Father.
Prayer: “Lord, you are here, my brother/sister will not die.”
Earlier in the text we are given a guide on how to live out our communion with Jesus:
9….. “A man can walk in the day time without stumbling because he has the light of this world to see by;10but if he walks at night he stumbles because there is no light to guide him.”
“I am the light of the world……”(8: 12)
“Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the lightand in such a person there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates another is in darkness, walks in the darkness, and does not know the way to go because the darkness has brought blindness.” 1 John 2: 10 -11
Let us now read the “Raising of Lazarus” again substituting our own name in place of Lazarus. Look for signs of your own relationship with Jesus.
3….. Lord, the man you love is ill.
This is a wonderful prayer. Repeat it over and over.
9….. he has the light of this world to see by.
14….. I am glad I was not there because now you will believe.
21….. my brother would not have died.
26….. Do you believe this?
35 See how much he loved him.
39 Jesus said, “Take the stone away.”
40…..you will see the glory of God.
43…..Lazarus, here! Come out!
44….. Unbind him, let him go free.
Prayer: Hear Jesus addressing you about your sister / brother.
“Unbind him, let him go free.”
“See how much he loves you.”
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me
to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed, go free
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.
Luke 4: 18 – 19
Today this scripture passage comes true in you.
Acknowledgements: Fallon, Michael: The Gospel according to St John