Today’s Gospel reading is from John 11: 1-45. It’s the famous story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Martha, Mary and Lazarus are good friends of Jesus. They are fairly well-to-do living about two miles from Jerusalem. “Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfume oil and dried his feet with her hair; it was her brother Lazarus who was ill.” When Martha and Mary thought their brother was going to die they sent for Jesus. It took Jesus a while to get there and, when he finally arrived, he was informed that his friend was already dead. Jesus is very moved by his friend’s death, he weeps during the Gospel passage.
Jesus tries to explain to Martha and Mary that this life is just a temporary thing and that resurrection from the dead was what he promised them. The sisters understand this; but if you’ve ever had anyone die in your family, it’s always very sad, even with the promise of resurrection. Jesus prays over what he’s about to do and commands Lazarus to come out of his tomb. Lazarus comes out bound with burial bands.
Jesus commands the people around to untie Lazarus and set him free of his burial bands. The Gospel then tells us, “Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him.”
The message for all of us is that the most important thing we can do with our lives is to spend time caring for each other. That’s what Jesus does in the story today. That’s what Jesus did during his whole life. I’m sure he has an idea that the Jewish leadership may get their way pretty soon. Yet Jesus does not hesitate to come near Jerusalem to care for a family that is grieving. In addition, he raises Lazarus from the dead to show everyone that life does not end at death. Actually, death is only the beginning of new life!
Peace and All Good!