Before the renewal of the Vatican Council II, the fifth Sunday of Lent was called the first Sunday of the Lord’s Passion and the following., the 2nd Sunday of the Lord’s Passion. It is a matter of fact, from this Sunday on, the Christian attention is mostly drawn to the sufferings and the death of the Lord Jesus on his way to the eternal glory and the means of our salvation. The first reading talks of the situation of the people of God in exile using the image of the bones of dead men scattered on a battle field. But God will bring them back to life, to a new life. And to the Romans, in the second reading, Paul says: “If the spirit of the one who raised Christ from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his spirit dwelling in you.”
In our Gospel, Lazarus, the good friend of Jesus is ill to death. In their panic, Lazarus’s sisters sent word to Jesus. 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.” Jesus remained for two days before he decided to go to rescue his friend. He says, ”Our friend, Lazarus, is asleep, but I am going to awaken him.” For Jesus, death is just a sleep, a temporary rest waiting for resurrection. Faced with the Lazarus’s crying sisters, Jesus wept like any human being in the same circumstances. Finally, using his divine power, Jesus commands Lazarus to come back from death: “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.” Jesus brings the freedom from death. The resurrection of Lazarus anticipates the outcome of the sufferings and the death of Jesus. Jesus will die, but he will overcome death for himself and for us, being the first fruits from the death.
Fr. Fracilus Pettit Homme