Gospel – John 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33B-45

The sisters of Lazarus sent word to Jesus, saying,
“Master, the one you love is ill.”
When Jesus heard this he said,
“This illness is not to end in death,
but is for the glory of God,
that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
So when he heard that he was ill,
he remained for two days in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to his disciples,
“Let us go back to Judea.”

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus
had already been in the tomb for four days.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,
“Your brother will rise.”
Martha said,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“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.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”

He became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said,
“Where have you laid him?”
They said to him, “Sir, come and see.”
And Jesus wept.
So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.”
But some of them said,
“Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man
have done something so that this man would not have died?”

So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb.
It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.
Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him,
“Lord, by now there will be a stench;
he has been dead for four days.”
Jesus said to her,
“Did I not tell you that if you believe
you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone.
And Jesus raised his eyes and said,
“Father, I thank you for hearing me.
I know that you always hear me;
but because of the crowd here I have said this,
that they may believe that you sent me.”
And when he had said this,
He cried out in a loud voice,
“Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man came out,
tied hand and foot with burial bands,
and his face was wrapped in a cloth.
So Jesus said to them,
“Untie him and let him go.”

Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what he had done began to believe in him.

Vicki Kline, MSW, LGSW – Graduate of La Salle University (’05) and alumna of the Lasallian Volunteers (‘05-‘07). Vicki lives in her hometown, Baltimore, serving as a Social Worker at the JHCP East Baltimore Medical Center and as an adjunct professor of Social Work for Widener University. Vicki helps to bring together for ongoing connection and fellowship LV alums and Young Lasallians in the Baltimore area.

A reflection by Ms. Vicki Kline

“Lord, by now there will be a stench;
he has been dead for four days.”
Jesus said to her,
“Did I not tell you that if you believe
you will see the glory of God?”

We are surrounded by death, disbelief, and despair. In the depths of Lent, we’ve intentionally come face to face with our demons, wrestling with the recollection of our lives. We’ve entered into a barren desert to search our hearts for the faith which propels us forward. It seems all we can see is the vast certainty of death. We sometimes come to believe that surely, this is all there is.

God is preparing us to be surprised again by Life — overcome by the joy of the Resurrection.

Lent reminds us that we aren’t there yet. We’re still walking around in a stupor, staring blankly at the interminable grief. This feels familiar to me; there are days when it feels like the suffering in the heart of East Baltimore, where I spend my days, may never end. We spend every day numbly staring into the dark tomb of endless violence, crippling addiction, neighborhood decay, political corruption. We incredulously call on God to come and heal this despair. God answers: “I keep telling you: Wake Up!”

Jesus encounters us in this stupor in today’s Gospel. He arrives on the scene to mourn his friend. He quietly weeps. He absorbs the sadness of his surroundings. We can feel the tension in the family, the grief over Lazarus’ death, the frustration with Jesus that he didn’t do enough while it counted.

It all feels so final, but it isn’t: Jesus commands Lazarus to rise up from his grave. When Lazarus sheds his bindings, we’re asked to have enough faith to release ourselves from our own, to step out of our dark, musty tombs and into the light. We’re being told to reject the “certainty” of death and despair and begin to walk again. We’re being told to get unstuck.

The prophet Ezekiel said: “O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them…”

Our graves are many and deep, some in which we bury ourselves, and others in which we are buried by others. But this Gospel reminds us that in our belief, we can find life in these places of anguish. Jesus’ command is that we get up and walk again. He demands that we wake up, choose to live, and bring others along with us.