Posts tagged: Lazarus

Jesus Loves His Friends

By , April 5, 2014 4:48 am

April 6th, Fifth Sunday of Lent

Oh, today’s Gospel! This is one of my favorite texts in the entire bible whether you are talking about Old or New Testaments. Today’s Gospel excerpt is drawn from the 11th chapter of St. John’s Gospel and for me it is wonderfully meaningful. The whole thrust of this Gospel is John, communicating to the first generation of the life of the Church, his memory what Jesus revealed about himself.

Sometimes our Lord communicated with words and other times just extraordinary actions. Today I am making reference to what I consider a wonderful extraordinary aspect of the life of Jesus of Nazareth. That is the fact that he was a MAN.
Members of the Christian community always recognize that Jesus is God dealing with us through a human nature. We know that. We believe that. But can we get our arms around it? Can our limited brains really grasp the awesome reality that within this Jewish carpenter from Nazareth the Godhead dwelt?

Well, today’s text really helps us to go in that direction. You know the story so well. Jesus goes to visit his friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus but on arriving, he is told that Lazarus died several days before. The text says that he was “troubled in spirit, moved by the deepest emotions” and then listen to this, he began to WEEP!

Did we all catch that? Jesus of Nazareth is weeping. This Divine Presence is torn by emotions, saddened and filled with a sense of loss. Can we really grasp that? I think the principle underlying the scene is that Lazarus was a friend of Jesus. Jesus liked him. Jesus was crushed on learning of Lazarus’ death. I like to transfer that concept to the rest of us. Yes, we are followers of Jesus, yes, we believe in him, but do we really see him as our friend? What a gift.

If we live a good life and if we do the things I just mentioned, we are his friends. Would your acquaintances be impressed if you were at a meeting and they announced that the president of the United States has called for you and has asked you to return the call? Would it seem important to you if it were only the governor or the mayor? My friends, if we are living a good life, we are the friends of Jesus. There is nothing better than that.

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Help the Rich Man?

By , September 28, 2013 5:25 am

Photo by Gustave Doré

September 29th, 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
At last the summer is coming to an end and we are still traveling. We are walking with Jesus on his journey to Jerusalem and death. The days may be cooler now but the message from God that comes to us through the Church is continuing the tough challenge of last week. We are to live just lives. It is the gifts that we receive and one that is fair, generous and loving. Good old Amos thunders, “Woe to the complacent in Zion lying upon beds of ivory, stretched comfortably on their couches. They eat lambs taken from the flock and calves from the stall but they are not faithful!” Amos warns them that these luxury loving idolaters will be the first to go into exile and their happy times will be over.

The scene in the Gospel contains the same theme but more directly Jesus describes a rich man who has fantastic wealth and ignores the needs of the poor. While the rich man is nameless, the poor man is given that dignity by our Lord himself. His name is Lazarus. He is very sick. He has leprosy but he is destitute and from afar he sees the inordinate luxury of the rich man.

Oops! Suddenly the scene changes. Lazarus is dead and the rich man is gone as well but he is in a difficult place and suffering for his selfishness, for his greed, for his indifference to the needs of the poor. The rich man cries out for help from father Abraham. When the wealthy man finds out that there is no crossing over into the better world of Lazarus he shows his good side and begs that Abraham would send a message to his father’s house and warn his five brothers so that they wouldn’t make the same mistakes that the rich man made. Then he is turned down and Abraham reminds the rich man and all of us that while we are struggling here on earth it is very important that we live good lives because evil and sinfulness cannot be undone in the next life. It has to be done here.

Let’s all listen to the voice of Abraham.

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Jesus Calls Us Out of our Caves

By , April 9, 2011 6:42 am

We are moving steadily through the holy season of Lent, and the Gospel texts place great challenges before us. Last week, we were urged to strip away our spiritual blindness and see the power of God in our lives. Today, we are asked to see in the person of Jesus the source of our redemption and eternal life. Lazarus really stands in the place of all of us. Because of our imperfections, because of our occasional sinfulness, each of us finds himself within a cave, the cave of our own limitations. As we enter deeper into the spirit of Lent, let’s endeavor to hear the voice of Jesus calling to us individually.

“Lazarus- John, Margaret, Bill, Julie- come forth.”

Jesus calls us out of our cave and into the bright light of redemption. It is a beautiful story but it is more than a story. It is a challenge of how our lives are to be lived.

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September 26th, 26th Sunday of the Church Year

By , September 25, 2010 2:44 am

Today, we are still in the 16th chapter of Luke and Jesus continues to put tough challenges before his disciples and, of course, through them to you and to me.  In the Gospel, Jesus uses the story of the rich man and Lazarus.  The rich man, very self-satisfied, ignored the suffering of poor Lazarus at the door of his house.  When they both died, it was Lazarus who would be in the “bosom of Abraham” and the rich man would be in torment.  The wealthy man was suffering not because he was rich, but because he was selfish and lacking in generosity and justice.

In the second reading, we get a delightful view of how St. Paul is forming his assistant, Timothy.  He has sent Timothy to be in charge of the church in Ephesus and Paul cannot himself be there since he is in prison but he does give excellent directions.  Every bishop and every parish priest would do well to read this excerpt each day.  Paul is telling Timothy to live a life of integrity, piety, faith, love, steadfastness and gentle spirit.  He urges him to witness daily to his faith in Jesus Christ and to live life without blame or reproach.  This is a challenge that anyone who aspires to be a religious leader, whether ordained or lay, should look at frequently and honestly.

Onward to Jerusalem.

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