Apr 10, 2011 - Sunday Meditation (Live What You Believe!) These stories of Jesus’ doing miracles all end with some kind of statement of belief. “Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what He had done began to believe in Him.” Jesus called Lazarus, the apostles, the man blinded, the adulterous woman, and the others to believe, not only in Him, but in their being sought out and sent out to live their beliefs. Fifth Sunday in Lent Ezekiel 37:12-14 Psalm 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 Romans 8:8-11 John 11:1-45 Now a certain man was ill, Laz'arus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Laz'arus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, "Lord, he whom you love is ill." 4 But when Jesus heard it he said, "This illness is not unto death; it is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by means of it." 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Laz'arus. 6 So when he heard that he was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, "Let us go into Judea again." 8 The disciples said to him, "Rabbi, the Jews were but now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?" 9 Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any one walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if any one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him." 11 Thus he spoke, and then he said to them, "Our friend Laz'arus has fallen asleep, but I go to awake him out of sleep." 12 The disciples said to him, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover." 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, "Laz'arus is dead; 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him." 16 Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him." 17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Laz'arus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem , about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary sat in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 And even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you." 23 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." 24 Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." 25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" 27 She said to him, "Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world." 28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying quietly, "The Teacher is here and is calling for you." 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Then Mary, when she came where Jesus was and saw him, fell at his feet, saying to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled; 34 and he said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Lord, come and see." 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" 37 But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?" 38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb; it was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 39 Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, "Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days." 40 Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?" 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 I knew that thou hearest me always, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that thou didst send me." 43 When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, "Laz'arus, come out." 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go." 45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him; Meditation by Larry Gillick The chapter from which our First Reading is taken begins with the prophet Ezekiel being dropped down into a valley of dried bones. He breathes, or pronounces, over them and they rejoin into whole bodies. These bones are the whole House of Israel exiled from their homeland in Babylon . What we hear in our reading is a follow-up prophesy. God will be opening the graves and will call out those who have died. Again, this is directed toward the whole people in exile. God announces that God will do it all, bring them out and send them back to their homeland. The land is a sacred presence and it is the second time God is bringing Israel out of exile or bondage. We are invited more than twice to return to the Sacred Presence of the very Ground of our being. Abandonment is not God’s way, but constantly inviting us out into life is God’s relational pattern. We have a long Gospel today with several important aspects. Here are a few reflection possibilities you may ponder about just what this whole story is about. The story is about death and resurrection. The story is how personal Jesus is with His love. The story is about Jesus’ calling us out of our personal tombs. The story concerns Jesus’ being The Light and The Life. The story is about the role of “signs” or “works” for the Jews to believe in Jesus. The above-mentioned elements are spread all through this entire chapter from John’s Gospel. There was a man of blindness presented so Jesus could be “seen” and seen as the “one Who had been sent.” There was hunger and a lack of bread so that Jesus could be taken in or received interiorly. There was thirst so that Jesus could be revealed as “Living Water.” Here there is death so that Jesus would bring “life” to this world. These stories of Jesus’ doing miracles all end with some kind of statement of belief. “Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what He had done began to believe in Him.” The theme of “come and see” which begins the Gospel creates the dramatic energy within each story. The rising action leads the reader or listener to a similar affirmation of believing because of, and also beyond the signs/miracles. We, the Church, and those about to enter the Church, are invited to believe in Jesus as the Savior, the One Who is still sent, the Embrace of God for our clayful humanity. Next Sunday is the First Passion Sunday at the beginning of which there will be the recalling of the palms spread in welcome of Jesus into Jerusalem . If we are heading toward the celebration of His Resurrection two weeks from today, we are asked to reflect on our faith which invites us to and through our own Passion Sundays, Mondays and on. Following Jesus will always put us in conflict with the injustices, cruelties, invitations to walk other paths and take the Jerusalem bypass. We will be comforted by the apostles’ abandoning Jesus and how Jesus searches for them and finding them, He sends them to live the Good News. In reading stories of the early and now recent martyrs, we wonder what we would do if such things happened to us. Many believers live the daily martyrdom of fidelity. Faith is a tremendous gift which bypasses the head and somehow allows the soul to confound the demands of reason and emotion. Whenever we are gathered together in a faith community, we are surrounded by faith-tested persons who also have gone out and beyond the tombs of their own temptations and sufferings. Jesus called Lazarus, the apostles, the man blinded, the adulterous woman, and the others to believe, not only in Him, but in their being sought out and sent out to live their beliefs. “With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.” Ps. 130, 1
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