• Lent 5 A

    Posted on March 26, 2017 by in Reflections on Sunday Gospels

    Fifth Sunday of Lent “A”_


    l. WHO:  l) Narrator, 2) Jesus, 3) Disciples, Thomas, 4) Martha, 5)

    Mary, 6) Lazarus, 7) Jews._


    2. WHERE:  Stages:

                        l) Home of Mary, Martha, Lazarus in Bethany near

    Jerusalem (under two miles away)._

                        2) Bethany beyond the Jordan._

                        3) Place near Bethany of Jerusalem where Jesus


                        4) Tomb._


    3. WHAT: 

              a) Jesus comes from Bethany to Bethany (ll:l-l9)._

              b) Martha comes out to meet Jesus (ll:20-22)._

              c) Jesus declares:  “I am the resurrection and the life.”


              a’)Mary comes out to meet Jesus. (ll: 28-32)._

              b’)Lazarus comes out of the tomb (ll:33-44)._



              l) Constant motion: message of distress goes from Bethany near

    Jerusalem to Jesus.  Jesus and his disciples move toward Bethany. The

    Jewish friends of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus come out from Jerusalem to

    comfort Martha and Mary (ll:l9). Martha moves to Jesus.  Martha moves to

    Mary.  Mary moves to Jesus.  All move to the tomb.  Lazarus moves out of

    the tomb.  Informers move to Pharisees.  Jesus and his company move to

    Ephraim in northern Judea. _

              2) Death-rising to new life motif runs through the whole

    story, for it is applied to Lazarus, to Jesus, to the individual

    christian (vv. l6,23-26) and to the christian community (vv. 50-52). _

              3) The meaning of the miracle is explained at the beginning

    (v. 4) in the centre (vv. 23-26), and toward the end of the account (v.


              4) The point that Lazarus is really dead is made in several

    different ways. Jesus delays two days.  The disciples misunderstand

    Jesus to mean that he is asleep and Jesus clarifies that he is dead._

    ll:l7 The mention of four days in the tomb. ll:39 He has been dead four

    days.  This to combat the common belief of the time that the spirit of

    the dead lingered for three days; no chance that Lazarus was in a comma._

              5) Martha’s opening words to Jesus express both complaint and

    confidence.  Her confession rings more of the old than it does of the

    radical new life offered by Jesus._

              6) Jesus’ tears may be a sign of his love for this family, as

    some in the crowd suppose, but that is not all they signify.  Jesus

    weeps also because of the destructive power of death that is still at

    work in the world.  Once again one sees the intersection of the intimate

    and the cosmic: the pain of this family reminds Jesus of the pain of the


              7) Martha and Mary model how people are to live as they

    struggle to free themselves from the power of death that defines and

    limits them and move to embrace the new promises and possibilities of

    life available through Jesus._

              8) Lazarus’ resurrection parallels that of Jesus himself:_

    a) a mourning Mary at the tomb (ll:3l and 20:ll);  b) a cave tomb closed

    with a stone (ll:38, 4l and 20:l); c) grave clothes plus a face cloth

    (ll:44 and 20:6-7); d) a special role given to Thomas (ll:l6 and 20:28-

    28). _

              9) Note again the listing of titles for Jesus: Lord, Son of

    God, the Christ, who is coming into the world, teacher, rabbi, “I am the

    resurrection and the life.” 


             l0) Jesus has given (physical) life as a sign of his power to

    give eternal life on this earth (realized eschatology, present) and as a

    promise that on the last day he will raise the dead (final eschatology,




    Development of homily:_


    Introduction to Mass:  today’s readings are a reminder that we all run

    into dead ends (callejones sin salida) in our lives.  In the first

    reading we hear of the Jews dead end.  They are in exile in Babylon away

    from their homeland and have been so for many years.  This captivity and

    exile is a dead end.  In the second reading St. Paul speaks of the dead

    end which is sin.  And in the Gospel the ultimate dead end is death._


    Homily:  Introduction to Gospel.  This Sunday the Gospel is again a kind

    of drama or teatro.  We have the different persons: narrator, Jesus,

    disciples and Thomas, Mary, Martha, Lazarus and the Jews.  We have four

    different stages on which the action takes place: the home of Martha,

    Mary and Lazarus; the place where Jesus is when he receives the message

    and where he stays for two days; the place near Bethany where Jesus

    arrives and the sisters come out to meet him; and the tomb of Lazarus. 

    There is plenty of action or movement in the Gospel.  Lots of arrivals and departures._


        1) The Gospel writer John makes the point four times that Lazarus is

    dead.  He does this because the Jews had a belief that after a person

    died their spirit hovered near for three days and then left.  John wants

    his readers including us to know that Lazarus was dead.  (l) He states

    that Jesus delays two days before going up to Judea.  It was a day’s

    journey for the message about Lazarus to reach Jesus.  He delayed for

    two days, and then it took another day to reach Bethany (four days). 

    (2) In Jesus’ dialogue with the disciples he first says that Lazarus is

    sleeping and he is going to wake him.  But when the disciples

    misunderstand this to mean a natural sleep.  Jesus says “clearly” he is

    dead.  (3) When Jesus arrives near Bethany the narrator tells us that

    Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days.  (4) At the tomb Martha

    says, “Lord it has been four days now, surely there will be a stench.” 

    John wishes us to know that this is not a case of a coma or some kind of

    resuscitation.  This is a raising from the dead.  A conquering of one of

    our greatest enemies: death._

        2) We follow Martha and Mary in this story.  In some ways they are

    similar to the story of Martha and Mary in Luke’s Gospel when Jesus

    comes to eat at their home.  There the active one is Martha, busy about

    the preparations and she scolds Jesus.  Mary is sitting at Jesus feet

    listening.  In this story Martha is also the active one who goes out to

    meet Jesus.  Her first words to Jesus are, Lord if you had been here my

    brother would not have died.  These later are  the exact words that Mary

    will use.  But Martha also has a bit of a scolding or reproach for

    Jesus.  Jesus tells Martha that Lazarus will rise again.  She believes

    he will rise again in the Resurrection of the dead on the last day.

    Jesus affirms this.  “I am the Resurrection and the Life whoever

    believes in me, even if they die, will live…” but then Jesus adds,

    “whoever is alive and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe

    this?”  To the question Martha has the right words, “I believe you are

    the Messiah, the Son of God who is to come into the world.”  But she

    doesn’t completely understand the power of life that Jesus has.  Because

    when Jesus orders the stone taken away, Martha reminds Jesus and us,

    that he probably stinks because he has been dead for four days.  So

    Jesus has a surprise in store for Martha.  He gives Lazarus life not

    just after death in the resurrection of the last day, but restores him

    to life now, in the present._

        Martha’s relationship with her sister seems to have gotten better

    since the Lukan story.  Her in John she does not scold her sister Mary

    but simply goes and calls her saying, “The Teacher is here and is asking

    for you.”  When Mary arrives at the place where Jesus is she fell at his

    feet.  She is in the same position as in the Lukan story. _

        3) We follow Jesus in this story also.  What are some of the things

    that Jesus does?  We usually note first of all that he weeps.  But he

    also loves Martha, Mary and Lazarus.  He calls out loudly to Lararus. He

    raises Lazarus to death.  But he also prays.  But John also puzzles us

    with some others things that Jesus does.  He delays for two days before

    coming to Bethany.  God also does some things in our lives that are

    puzzles for us.  We do some things that are puzzles to one another. 

    When Jesus tells them that he is going to go up to Bethany.  They

    caution him that people have just been trying to stone him.  Their

    caution is not to go.  But Jesus goes anyway.  Jesus also “was troubled

    in spirit, moved by the deepest emotions.”  What does this signify? 

    Jesus is troubled in spirit at the death of a friend.  Death can do that

    to all of us, trouble us in spirit.  But the Greek word here has the

    meaning also of being angry.  Jesus is angry before the reign of death,

    the suffering caused to this family that he loves.  He also seems to be

    angry at the response of the people who seem to critize him: “He opened

    the eyes of that blind man.  Why could he not have done something to

    stop this man from dying.”  

        4) Lastly what do the second parts of Jesus words to Martha mean for

    us, “y el que haya creido en me, no morira para siempre?”  Jesus

    promises us his life, eternal life while we are still on earth.  How do

    we receive the life of Jesus here on earth?  When we pray.  When we do

    some good deed for another.  When we try to get closer to Jesus.  When

    we receive the sacraments.  And what is the promise of Jesus life for us

    now?  Jesus tiene el poder para vencer la muerte.  Cuando en frente de

    nosotros es un muerte del amigo, tenemus la promesa de vida eterna. 

    Pero Jesus tiene el poder para vencer muerte de diferente classes. 

    Sufrimiento, enfermedades son tipos de muerte.  Jesus tiene el poder

    para vencer estas muertes, possiblemente por sanatio.  Jesus tiene el

    poder para vencer la muerte que es pecado, cautividad, addiciones,

    exilio.  Jesus tiene el poder para vencer todas las callejones sin

    salida.  El nos da el poder para descubrir una salida, para resolver

    problemas, difficuldades.  ?Tienes problemas personales, con sus hijos,

    con sus papas, con una relacion con otra persona?  Jesus tiene el poder

    para dar esperanza cuando no hay esperanza.  Jesus tiene poder sobre la

    muerta que es la callejon sin salida mas fuerte.  We must live with the

    life of Christ now to live with the eternal life of Christ forever.  

    During Lent we have heard Jesus say, I am the Resurrection and the Life,

    I am the light of the world,  I am living water.  In John’s Gospel he

    also tells us I am the Way the Truth and the Life.  I am the Good

    Shepherd, I am the vine and you are the branches.  Let us live with this



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