THE RAISING OF LAZARUS
Today’s Gospel reading recounts another sign, or miracle, found in John’s Gospel, the raising of Lazarus. The context for the story of the raising of Lazarus is the Jewish leaders’ growing animosity toward Jesus. Into this scene of confrontation, Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, send word to Jesus that his friend is ill. Jesus is said to love Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, but he delays his journey for two days. The delay heightens the drama and shows Jesus’ obedience to God, who is to be glorified through Lazarus’s rising. Set against the backdrop of Jesus’ impending death, many elements of the raising of Lazarus foreshadow the good news of Jesus’ own Resurrection. Jesus, facing the conflict with the Jewish authorities, acts in complete obedience to God. In raising Lazarus, Jesus shows his power over death so that when Jesus dies, those who believe in him might remember that and take hope. Just as Jesus calls for the stone to be rolled away from Lazarus’s tomb, so too will the disciples find the stone rolled away from Jesus’ tomb. With Martha and Mary, we are called to profess our belief that Jesus is indeed the Resurrection and the life.