Ez 37:12-14; Rom 8:8-11; Jn 11:1-45
Rev Fr Daniel Evbotokhai
Today’s gospel reading is about the resurrection of Lazarus. Jesus brings Lazarus out of the tomb; this is experienced as liberation from bondage “Unbind him and let him go free.” Lazarus symbolizes those who have been written off either by others or by themselves as dead people. Those who see nothing good in themselves. Jesus unbinds them from such bondage and set them free. Like the dry bones in the first reading Jesus gives life us again, eternal and physical; like the people of Israel He restores us back to our homeland. Like the people of Israel, all those in exile desires to come back home, those who are sick desires healing, right now the world awaits her peace and serenity; we all long to hug and shake again, we long to come together in the Church for our usual masses and prayers; we long to visit friends and watch matches, we long to travel freely again either within or outside. Therefore we must learn the act of constantly crying to Him for liberation. Through the prayers of Martha and Mary Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, through our prayers Jesus will give eternal life to many; through our prayers Jesus will restore our land and grant us liberation from darkness and death.
In the narrative “Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. This statement has two basic implications: First is the wish in each one of us not to die. This world has become so sweet and enticing that everybody rejects death. No one wants to die; the present corona virus disease is a clear instance of how people are scared of death. The whole world that seems to be on the rush all of a sudden has slow down and almost shutting down. Death is the common denominator of every man. Rich or poor; tall or shot; wise or foolish and so on. This is not to say we should give in to carelessness and risks our lives; rather it is an opportunity to examine ourselves and reprioritize our earthly life in a way that it will have eternal relevance.
The second implication is that; we often think that our beloved once die because God was powerless or absent. So, Martha said: if you were here my brother would not have died. For many people this statement holds true, they believe that because God was absent evil happened. There is a book entitled “Where is God when Bad things Happen?” God is where He is when good and bad things happen. Right from the days of the Patriarchs God has never stopped being Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient. Yet people died, the patriarchs died, the saints died, Jesus died and Lazarus died. Death therefore, is not a cause on humanity or an evil experience. It is rather a necessary route out of earthly life; it is like democracy, it is for the people and by the people. All we need is preparation. We are too quick to prepare for other things except eternity. Lent is a special season for preparation.
Jesus raised Lazarus back to life not because death is bad but to teach us about the resurrection. Thus, the grave is not the final destination of man. Paul says in the second reading if the Spirit that raise Jesus Christ from the death dwells in us; that same Spirit shall give life to our mortal body. So the raising of Lazarus from the dead is only a sign of the resurrection; not the resurrection itself. The promise of Christianity is that all believers will someday be raised from the dead. Jesus simply demonstrated this power. So all those raised from the dead died again. Is it Jairus’ daughter; the widow of Nain’s son, Tabitha and many others they all died again. Only in the case of Jesus we had the resurrection, He rose and did not die again. His own was not a sign but the very act itself. Therefore, resurrection is the hope of every Christian. No Christian life should end in the grave. Resurrection gives meaning to Christianity. Without it Christianity will not be preached. Therefore, let us use this lent to prepare so that on the resurrection we can wake up into eternal glory. May our hope not fail us through Christ our Lord. Amen
An Act of Spiritual Communion
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment
receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen
REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.