First Reading: Ezekiel 37:12 -14
Psalm Response: Psalm 130: 1-8
Second Reading: Romans 8: 8-11
Gospel: John 11: 1 -45
Over and over we are reminded of the presence of the Spirit in our lives. In our first reading, the prophet Ezekiel tells us that God says to His people, “ O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them, …I will put my spirit in you that you might live…”
Indeed, God did open the grave of Lazarus!
The story of the death of Lazarus, friend of Jesus, and brother of Mary and Martha, is an interesting story, with both human and divine aspects. Jesus heard of Lazarus’s death, yet he did not go immediately to mourn his friend nor to comfort his friend’s sisters. After two days he went to Judea, even though his disciples warned him that that might not be a safe place to go. Jesus responded, “Our friend Lazarus is asleep and I am going to awaken him.”
Note Jesus’ love for Lazarus. See his bravery in going to a place where he had previously been stoned. Hear the reprimands of both Martha and Mary: “If you had come earlier, my brother would not have died.” Hear Jesus’ response, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies shall live. And everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” And then as they approached the tomb, hear the weeping of the people. See JESUS weep!
Jesus said to Mary, “ Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” And then … came the loud cry of Jesus, “LAZARUS, COME OUT!” The dead man came out and Jesus said to the people, “Untie him and let him go.”
As the story concludes, many of the Jews who had seen what he had done began to believe in him.
Out of love, Jesus brought Lazarus back to life. In what ways is Jesus bringing you back to life this Lent? In what ways is God putting his Spirit in you that you may live?
O Spirit, alive in us, we do believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Untie us from all that binds us and help us be open to your voice as we walk with Jesus this fifth week of Lent.
Joan Laughlin, OSF