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#TomorrowIsSunday | Lazarus of Bethany – Jesus’ friend and bishop

Fr. Paweł Rytel-Andrianik / 25.03.2023
Tomb in St. Lazarus Church in Larnaca, Cyprus, Photo Credit: Flickr CC_BY_SA_2.0 Martin Belam
Tomb in St. Lazarus Church in Larnaca, Cyprus, Photo Credit: Flickr CC_BY_SA_2.0 Martin Belam

5th Sunday of Lent; Year A

March 26, 2023

Gospel: Jn 11:1-45 >>>

You can download the commentary on the Gospel and beautiful photos >>>

1. A word of introduction

Lazarus received a second life from Jesus. It became a prefiguration of the resurrection of every believer.  Lazarus’ life is also an example of faithful friendship.


2. Keywords

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.”

The Gospel account of the event repeatedly emphasizes Jesus’ deep friendship with Lazarus. At the news of Lazarus’s death, Jesus was deeply moved, and when he arrived at his tomb at Bethany, he wept. In the home of Lazarus and his sisters, Jesus felt comfortable. Not only was he warmly hosted there, but more importantly, they accepted his teaching. Therefore, Bethany could become the place where the glory of God and the power of the Son of God were manifested.

So when Jesus 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.

Jesus delayed visiting Lazarus in the situation of his friend’s terminal illness. He did this so that people would believe in Him. In Jesus’ time, it was thought that the soul of a deceased person was near the body for three days. Lazarus was in the tomb for four days. By raising Lazarus, Jesus manifested extraordinary, divine power. Lazarus’ return to life, made many people believe in Jesus as their Savior.

Jesus 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.

The raising of Lazarus to life was not a resurrection but a prefiguration of the true resurrection. Jesus says that every believer will be resurrected: “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.”

Lazarus was faithful to his friendship with Jesus all his life. He was a sign of the power of Jesus, the Son of God, even after raising him to life. Jesus’ opponents sought the death of Lazarus because he was an inconvenient witness. Therefore, Lazarus had to flee from Jerusalem, settled in Cyprus, and was one of the first bishops of the Church. His second tomb is in Larnaca.


3. Today

Friendship with Jesus makes God’s power transform my life. How do I care about my relationship with Jesus? What am I doing in my daily life for my friend Jesus?


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