Tag Archives: Lazarus

Lazarus Sunday: no limit to divine mercy

Raising of Lazarus RubevelJesus said: “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” (Jn 11:25)

For the Fifth Sunday of Lent praying the Missal of Paul VI, we are told once again the source of our total fulfillment in this, and in the next life: Jesus’ promise to us of life eternal. (In the Missal of John XXIII it is Passion Sunday.) When all seemed lost after four  days of grave, the Lord gives his dead friend a supreme gift! This grace is not the permanent gift of life as Lazarus was destined to die again but this moment is a clear indication of who Jesus is when He uses the “I am” statement. The great question of all time is “who is Jesus?” Hence, this is the beginning of something that would change everything in the cosmos: resurrection of the body. In Angelus address today Pope Francis said, “As Jesus rose with His own body, but did not return to an earthly life, so we will rise with our bodies that will be transfigured into glorious bodies. He waits for us next to the Father, and the strength of the Holy Spirit, that resuscitated Him, will all raise those who are united to Him.”

The Lazarus event begs us to ask, what does this mean? What is my place in this event of resurrection?

Pope Francis concludes his Angelus remarks, and this is crucial:

The act of Jesus by which He raised Lazarus demonstrates the end to which the power of the Grace of God can arrive, and the end, therefore to which our conversion, our change can arrive. But listen well: there is no other limit to the divine mercy offered to all! There is no other limit to the divine mercy offered to all! Remember this phrase. And we can all say it together: “There is no other limit to the divine mercy offered to all!” Let us say it together: “There is no other limit to the divine mercy offered to all!” The Lord is always ready to take away the tombstone of our sins, which separate us from Him, the light of the living.

Saint Augustine tells us “Among all the miracles done by our Lord Jesus Christ, the resurrection of Lazarus holds a prime place in preaching. But if we consider attentively who did it, our duty is to rejoice rather than to wonder. A man was raised up by him who made humankind. He is the only one of the Father by whom, as you know, all things were made. And if all things were made by him, why is anyone amazed that one was raised by him when so many are daily brought into the world by his power? It is a greater deed to create men and women than to raise them again from the dead. Yet he decided both to create and to raise again; to create all, to resuscitate some.”

The friendship of Lord and the intimacy that this fact manifests for us is itself an indication of the love God has for each of us while showing us that outside forces are not exhausted.

Lazarus Saturday

Raising of Lazarus Duccio.jpgBefore Your own death, O Christ, You raised from death
Lazarus, who was four days dead, and You have shaken the dominion of death. Through
the one man whom You loved, You have foretold the deliverance of all from
corruption. We therefore worship You and cry: Blessed are You, O Savior! 
Have mercy on us!

The observance of Lazarus Saturday is really more a Byzantine Church observance on the Saturday before Palm Sunday, but you will find it in the West, too. As the antiphon above notes, Jesus shows us what is come for us who believe in Him: triumph over death by death itself. As Jesus approaches His own death on the Cross, and then the Resurrection, we who believe in the Lord encounter the same fact.

A new possibility of human existence: learning from Lazarus

Raising of Lazarus Giotto.jpgThe raising of Lazarus from the dead not only restores Lazarus to life, a life with his family and friends, but he begins a new life on earth because of his relationship with Jesus. The gaze of his friend Jesuson Lazarus is one of profound emotion and penetrating teaching. There’s no question that something unique happened to Lazarus because on the Lord’s journey to Jerusalem to face his own passover from life to Life. This is a final act of Jesus before he walks the via Dolorosa. But what does Lazarus’s new new life and Jesus’ own resurrection say to us today?

Lazarus’ human life is not permanent even after divine intervention for he will definitively die at the proper time. But the gift of new life –in a normal sense– gives us the awareness that life is anything but ordinary for those who know the Lord. It identifies our own aspiration for eternal life with Him. We are changed by meeting the Lord “which breaks through and overcomes every barrier! Christ breaks down the wall of death, and in Him there resides the fullness of God, which is life, eternal life. Therefore death had no power over Him; the resurrection of Lazarus is a sign of his full dominion over mortal death, which is like sleep before God.”

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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