From the desk of Ms. Kathleen Cook, Director of Religious Education
Theme: John 11:1-45 Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.
Summary: The action of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead is yet another sign of God’s covenant promise of life. In all that Jesus does, we see the glory of God. In the raising of Lazarus, we have the most spectacular manifestation of God’s glory through Jesus Christ. This sign or miracle is the backdrop for the religious authorities seeking to bring about the death of Jesus. This is the ultimate catalyst that begins the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus, which is the seal and fulfillment of the covenant God has made in His love for humanity.
Scripture: Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. ” John 11:25-26a
There was a man named Lazarus who lived in Bethany with his two sisters, Mary and Martha. They knew Jesus and were his good friends. One day, Lazarus became sick. His sisters sent word to Jesus saying, “Lord, your dear friend Lazarus is very sick.” But Jesus was in another town and didn’t come right away.
When Jesus finally arrived in Bethany, Martha ran to meet Jesus and told him that Lazarus had been dead for four days. “If only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Jesus answered, “Your brother will rise again. I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”
So Martha went back and got her sister Mary and they took Jesus to show him the place where Lazarus was buried. When he arrived at the tomb, Jesus told them to roll away the stone that covered the entrance. He prayed to his Father and then he called in a loud voice, “Lazarus come out!” Do you know what happened? Even though he had been dead for four days, Lazarus walked out of the tomb! He wasn’t dead — he wasn’t even sick!
Wow! How would you like to have a friend like that? Well, you do. Jesus loves you just as he loved Lazarus and he wants to be your friend. He’ll pick you up when you are down. He’ll be with you to the bitter end. After all, that’s what friends are for.
Dear Jesus, you said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Thank you for being our friend. Amen.
My Promise to Jesus: Jesus, you love us and always forgive us. Thank you for your love! This week, I too want to love a whole lot. I’ll say kind words to a friend, to my mom or dad, or to someone I think needs to hear them.
Reflect: If a word or phrase from the Gospel captures your heart, sit quietly for several minutes, repeating it to yourself and asking God to show you how it applies to your life. Or reflect and possibly journal on the following question: When have you used someone else or stopped someone from being used?
Suggested book that compliments today’s Gospel:
Written by David Shannon
Jesus’ promise of eternal life is a central element of our Catholic faith. Even though Easter is still two weeks away, our Gospel today invites us to acknowledge Jesus’ power over death, evidenced in the raising of Lazarus, and to anticipate Jesus’ conquering of death once and for all in his death and Resurrection. We sometimes use examples from nature to help describe this mystery of our faith. Jesus himself talked about the seed that dies when planted in the ground in order to produce new life (John 12:24). Using that image and others, we find hope and confidence in Jesus, the Resurrection and the life.
Gather your family today and read today’s Gospel in its shorter form, John 11:3-7,17,20-27,33b-45. Write Jesus’ promise from today’s Gospel (“I am the resurrection and the life.”) on a large sheet of white paper. As your family talks about what Jesus means by this promise, decorate Jesus’ words with symbols that will remind you of his promise of eternal life. Display this reminder of Jesus’ promise in a prominent place in your home and keep it there until Easter. Pray that you will always remain confident in Jesus’ promise of eternal life. Conclude by praying together the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene Creed.
The Importance of Sunday: Sunday, the “Lord’s day,” is central to our liturgical life. Our observance begins on the Saturday evening before, and all Catholics are obligated to participate in Mass every weekend. There, the “Lord’s Supper is its center, for there the whole community of the faithful encounters the risen Lord who invites them to his banquet” (CCC 1166).
The Church also encourages us to treat Sunday as a day of rest, recreation, and family time as a way of keeping the Third Commandment: “Remember the Sabbath day…..keep it holy. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God” (Exodus 20:8-10)
How do you spend Sundays? How can you “keep it holy?”