In today’s Gospel we hear the extraordinary account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.
Lazarus, Mary and Martha were friends of Jesus and his disciples and were accustomed to providing hospitality at their home in Judea on their missionary journeys.
Lazarus’ became ill and his sisters sent word to Jesus saying, “He whom thou lovest is sick” Jesus replied “That this illness would not end in death but rather glorify God through him”, so he waited for two days before setting out for Bethany in Judea. He said to his disciples, “Our friend Lazarus is asleep, but I am going to awaken him.” His disciples were confused about the word ‘sleep’ so Jesus said plainly, “Lazarus has died….let us go to him.”
Upon arrival at Bethany, Jesus learned that Lazarus was already four days in the tomb and a crowd had gathered to offer sympathy to Mary and Martha. Approaching Jesus, Martha and Mary said, “Master if you had been here my brother would not have died.” Jesus said “Your brother will rise…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.”
Seeing the sisters weeping and also the crowd of mourners, Jesus became greatly troubled and said “Where have you laid him?” They replied, “Come and see.” At that point, “Jesus wept.” Seeing this, the Jews commented “See how he loved him.”
At the tomb, Jesus ordered that the stone be removed, saying to Lazarus’ sisters, “If you believe, you will see the glory of God.”
Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here, I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me…he cried out in a loud voice,”Lazarus, come out.” The dead man came out.
Referring to the burial bands, Jesus said, “Untie him and let him go.”
As Jesus had foretold, God was indeed, glorified by this miracle of the raising of Lazarus from the dead, “as many of the Jews in attendance began to believe in him.”
Let us pray:
Jesus, as a true man, was moved with compassion and “wept” for his friend, Lazarus, and as eternal God raised him from the tomb.
As we approach the Holiest Week of the Church year, we ask that Jesus may now take pity on our human condition and raise us up to newness of life in God.