Fifth Sunday of Lent

If a true friend loves at all times[1], why did Jesus delay in coming to Lazarus' home when he knew that his friend was seriously ill?[2] Well, Jesus explained that Lazarus' sickness would bring glory to God. The glory which Jesus had in mind, however, was connected with suffering and the cross. He saw the cross as his superlative glory and the way to glory in the kingdom of God, for Jesus there was no other way to glory except through the cross.
So, what is the significance of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead? It is more than a miraculous event. It is a sign of God's promise to raise up all who have died in Christ to everlasting life. That is why Jesus asked Martha if she believed in the resurrection from the dead.

The Christian creed, which is the profession of our faith in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and in the saving power of God, culminates in the proclamation of the resurrection of the dead on the last day and in life everlasting.

We should be conscious that God gives us the power of his Holy Spirit that we may be made alive in Christ. Even now we can experience the power of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus in our personal lives: the Holy Spirit is ever ready to change and transform us into men and women of faith, hope, and love, especially trough the sacraments.

The name Lazarus means God is my help, through Lazarus' sickness and subsequent death, God brought glory through Jesus his Son, on the same way our participation in the Lord's Supper in the Eucharist already gives us a foretaste of Jesus' transfiguration of our bodies. Irenaeus, a second century church father remarks: «Just as bread that comes from the earth, after God's blessing has been invoked upon it, is no longer ordinary bread, but Eucharist, formed of two things, the one earthly and the other heavenly: so too our bodies, which partake of the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, but possess the hope of resurrection»[3].

We have to abandon the empty promises of materialism, and we have to renounce the brief thrills of sin. We have to listen to the summons to come out of the tombs we have constructed for ourselves and come into the light and life of the Lord.

The long gospel account of the raising of Lazarus prepares us for the Easter celebration by reminding us that we have been summoned to join the Lord of Life in his conquest of death.

Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life[4].

[1] Proverbs 17:17
[2] Sunday 9th March, 2008, 5th Sun of Lent. Readings: Ezekiel 37:12-14. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption-Ps 129(130). Romans 8:8-11. John 11:1-45 [St Frances of Rome].
[3] Adv. Haeres. 4,18
[4] John 5:24
Ilustration: Corinne Vonaesch, La Résurrection de Lazare, Gospel of John Series (9)
Corinne Vonaesch, born and residing in Switzerland, is one of the most unique contemporary Christian artists of today. Her paintings are described as colorful and illuminated. The light seems to come out of the painting itself, due to the choice of colors and the design. Her personal style tends toward expressionism; but some of her works may even be seen as abstract. Corinne Vonaesch’s paintings are mainly inspired by the surrounding world and by the inner representations of the artist. They are filled with people, faces and feelings. Her main source of inspiration is the Bible. Her most notable series is the gospel of John in 21 paintings. This series is called "couleurs d’évangiles". She also illustrated the creation related in Genesis. This series is called "les sept jours de la création".

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris