Today’s Gospel is a true wonder working event, the kind that many who want to believe would like as proof that they are on the right track.
The raising of Lazarus is a signpost, yes, as are all of the Gospel miracles. It is an event that shows Jesus in true form as the Resurrection and the Life. None could argue with this portrayal. But it is also a very special event for another reason: it shows the outward empathy of Jesus in a unique way. Jesus is mourning, taking on the full humanity of his nature, whilst also in his Godhead raising Lazarus from the dead. We see the full Godness and the full humanity in one event.
In this time of waiting, when we are preparing to walk alongside Jesus at his passion, death and Resurrection, this Gospel is the ultimate signpost. It should reassure us, as do all of his miracles, about the Gospel message that we strive to follow. That message, afterall, is a difficult mandate that causes genuine hardship in our lives. We can be assured that it is all for something. It should reassure us, too, that we are the blessed reciprocants of Jesus’s love. We, like Lazarus, are his children. He died for us. When we die, as the faithful of his message, Jesus will raise us up, as he did his friend Lazarus. In this we hope, as Jesus instructed his friends.
(John 11:3-7. 17. 20-27. 33-45.)
The sisters Martha and Mary sent this message to Jesus, ‘Lord, the man you love is ill.’ On receiving the message, Jesus said, ‘This sickness will not end in death but in God’s glory, and through it the Son of God will be glorified.’
Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, yet when he learned that Lazarus was ill he stayed where he was for two more days before saying to the disciples, ‘Let us go to Judaea.’
On arriving, Jesus found that Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days already. When Martha heard that Jesus had come she went to meet him. Mary remained sitting in the house. Martha said to Jesus, ‘If you had been here, my brother would not have died, but I know that even now, whatever you ask of God, he will grant you.’
‘Your brother’ said Jesus to her ‘will rise again.’
Martha said, ‘I know he will rise again at the resurrection on the last day.’
Jesus said: ‘I am the resurrection and the life. If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?
‘Yes Lord,’ she said ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world.’ Jesus said in great distress, with a sigh that came straight from the heart, ‘Where have you put him?’ They said, ‘See how much he loved him!’ But there were some who remarked, ‘He opened the eyes of the blind man, could he not have prevented this man’s death?’ Still sighing, Jesus reached the tomb; it was a cave with a stone to close the opening. Jesus said, ‘Take the stone away.’ Martha said to him, ‘Lord, by now he will smell; this is the fourth day.’ Jesus replied, ‘Have I not told you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?’ So they took away the stone.
Then Jesus lifted up his eyes and said:
‘Father, I thank you for hearing my prayer. I knew indeed that you always hear me, but I speak for the sake of all these who stand round me, so that they may believe it was you who sent me.’
When he had said this, he cried in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, here! Come out!’ The dead man came out, his feet and hands bound with bands of stuff and a cloth round his face. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, let him go free.’
Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what he did believed in him.
The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ