Diocese of Brooklyn
Six days before Passover and Saint John has Jesus visiting Lazarus and his sisters, Martha and Mary. Tension is mounting. Plots are in the air. Traitorous plans are taking shape. Jesus is speaking of His burial. It is all adding up to an awareness the time of completion is nearing. That Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters is clear from even a cursory reading of the Scriptures but something special is happening this night. Facing His own death, Jesus remembers calling Lazarus from the tomb – the precise event that has also drawn Lazarus into the drama of the evening. Perhaps, His own confidence in His mastery over death is being renewed. Perhaps, He wants to assure His friends, who would watch His crucifixion, that just as Lazarus was raised so too He would rise. Perhaps, He wanted the onlookers to remember and have the opportunity to think once more before choosing to put their thoughts into action.
The plotters are afraid. They must discredit Jesus however they can – they have to make a credible case before Pilate. If Lazarus is proof then perhaps Lazarus should also die. Find one of His closest followers, one of the twelve who might be unsure, and convince him, persuade him, tempt him, use him.
Martha and Mary are unusually silent. They meet the household duties and speak little. They are sad but they were sad once before and that sadness gave way to great joy. Will they untie yet another they love?
And Lazarus stands by his friend. He has lived and died and lived again. He is not afraid. His presence reminds everyone.
We enter into the holiest week of our liturgical year by first looking at this scene. The Master over life and death is staring at both – those who would put Him to death and the one He restored to life. He has made His choice; the Father’s will be done. He will conquer death and lead us to life.