Daily Reflection April 11th, 2020
by Fr Stephen
APRIL 11, LAZARUS SATURDAY
“…He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.” Then His disciples said, “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.” However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep.
Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.” Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.” (John 11:11-16, Lazarus Saturday Liturgy)
Fr John’s Reflection
I had hoped to share the sermon from this morning’s liturgy as the reflection for today, but using a new recording app I ran into technical glitches. Therefore, I would like to share two thoughts about this glorious day. We know the story of the Resurrection of Lazarus. We know that this whole narrative is the foreshadowing of the Resurrection of Christ Himself. His power over life and death is so complete that He only need utter a word and Lazarus awakens from being dead for four days. The first thought to share is that Lazarus is the friend of Christ. But this friendship had quite a cost. Christ allowed his friend to die. He purposely lingered when he knew Lazarus was sick, giving him time to not only die, but to be buried for four days! This mission was not given to someone anonymous, not to someone for whom He didn’t care, not to an “enemy.” He could have had one of the Pharisees die and be buried, raising him in a proof to those who would not believe that He is the Messiah. But no — He asked this of His friend, a loved one. Not exactly an easy ask, eh? Each of us can be considered “friends” of the Lord. But each of us is asked to do the same thing — die to ourselves so that He might use us to His glory. Our self-sacrifice, our self-denial, our prayer, our fasting, our repentance is all a “death” that allows Him room to work.
The second thought is the reaction of Thomas when Jesus finally explains that Lazarus was dead. “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.” He assumed they were all going to join Lazarus in death. And he was more than willing to do so. We have journeyed through Great Lent to come to this moment when the Lord has glorified Himself in the resurrection of His friend. This Lent has been, shall we say, less than typical. How do we die with Lazarus? How do we witness the glory of His friend’s rising? When one reads the tradition of the Church about Lazarus, who answered the call of his Friend, one is stopped in one’s tracks. Lazarus very rarely ever spoke again. The sights he saw in death changed him forever. I just read today that for the rest of his life, Lazarus only ate sweets. And after all that, he had to die again, just like the rest of us! That’s what makes Thomas’ quick and easy “Let us also go..” almost cavalier and ignorant. Making that choice is serious indeed. How many of us can say we love our Friend enough to die for Him? The choice is made a little easier by the absolute truth that if we do make that choice, He always rewards it with resurrection. We are now called to walk the path to His Passion with Him. Let us do so knowing that Resurrection is not possible without death. May He kill everything in each of us that is not worthy of salvation! Glory to God!
November 29, 2023
November 29, 2023
November 29, 2023