Gospel – John 11:1-45
Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany,
the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil
and dried his feet with her hair;
it was her brother Lazarus who was ill.
So the sisters sent word to him saying,
“Master, the one you love is ill.”
hen 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.”
The disciples said to him,
“Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you,
and you want to go back there?”
“Are there not twelve hours in a day?
If one walks during the day, he does not stumble,
because he sees the light of this world.
But if one walks at night, he stumbles,
because the light is not in him.”
He said this, and then told them,
“Our friend Lazarus is asleep,
but I am going to awaken him.”
So the disciples said to him,
“Master, if he is asleep, he will be saved.”
But Jesus was talking about his death,
while they thought that he meant ordinary sleep.
So then Jesus said to them clearly,
“Lazarus has died.
And I am glad for you that I was not there,
that you may believe.
Let us go to him.”
So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples,
“Let us also go to die with him.”
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus
had already been in the tomb for four days.
Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away.
And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary
to comfort them about their brother.
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 to him,
“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.”
When she had said this,
she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying,
“The teacher is here and is asking for you.”
As soon as she heard this,
she rose quickly and went to him.
For Jesus had not yet come into the village,
but was still where Martha had met him.
So when the Jews who were with her in the house comforting her
saw Mary get up quickly and go out,
they followed her,
presuming that she was going to the tomb to weep there.
When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him,
she fell at his feet and said to him,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping,
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.
Reflection by Mr. Michael Scaramuzzo of St. John Paul II Academy, Boca Raton, FL
During this Fifth Sunday of Lent, the Johannine account begins Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem with the Lazarus story. The account tells us that “Jesus loved Lazarus.” (Verse 5) In fact, Jesus loved Lazarus so much that upon seeing his tomb, we are told that “Jesus wept.” (Verse 35) This is one of the few times in Scripture where we see the raw emotion of the humanity of Jesus. Not only in the humanity of Christ, but the famous apostle, Thomas called Didymus is mentioned, signaling to the reader that something is about to happen in connection with the great mysteries of Christ’s glorification. At the words of Jesus “Lazarus come out!” (Verse 43) Lazarus is raised and thus, Christ is glorified.
When I think of this Gospel in light of vocations to the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, I reflect on the power of Jesus’ love and the impact of his voice. First, as is seen in the Gospel account, the Jews say “see how Jesus loved him.” (Verse 36) Yet, the Jews lack an understanding of how deep his love for Lazarus truly is. Jesus ultimately shows them in performing the resurrection of Lazarus. We too rarely have a glimpse of how much Jesus truly loves each one of us–“warts and all.” If we truly listen, we too can hear the sound of his voice—maybe not raising us from the dead (which ultimately we live in hope for,) but in hearing him call each one of us to our individual vocations. Perhaps this vocation is to be, like Jesus, a teacher to the young in the footsteps of De La Salle.
The doubt, that so many show, in the Gospel account, is put to death in the resurrection of Lazarus—so much so that “many came to believe in him.” (Verse 45) If, by the voice of Jesus, Lazarus is raised, imagine the work that can be done when we follow the voice of Jesus in our lives. Think of how many can be impacted by the good work that can be done in answering a vocation to the Brothers of the Christian Schools.
Questions for Reflection
- Who is present, like Thomas called Didymus, in my life encouraging me to be a part of Christ’s glorification?
- Where do I see the voice of Jesus in my life?
- Do I truly believe in the power of the word of God in my life?
- Where is God calling me so that many can come to believe in him?
Mr. Michael Scaramuzzo teaches theology and also serves as a Campus Minister and Lasallian Animator at Saint John Paul II Academy in Boca Raton. He is an alumnus of St. Peter’s Boys High School in Staten Island, New York and earned an MA in Theology from Saint Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida. He has attended Lasallian Youth Summer Assemblies, Huether, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and currently is participating in the Buttimer Institute.