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Posts Tagged ‘Lazarus’

By Sister Mary Grace Leung, SND

The seasons of the Church’s liturgical year have always been special to me because I entered the Catholic Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. I was baptized at the Easter Vigil in 2006 and every year I look forward to my anniversary!

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When I learned about Advent in my classes, I made sure it was special by lighting up the Advent candles at home before I had supper. I said all the prayers and pondered on my anticipation of Jesus’ birth. Then Lent came, and I was truly touched by the practice of praying, fasting and giving alms. I was eager to fill my rice bowl for Catholic Charities and I bought food for the homeless whom I greeted along my walks on the streets of the city. Lent helped me realize that I needed to be with and for people who are in need – something that was lacking in my past.

My eagerness and excitement in taking the final steps to my baptism was filled with so many graces. The three scrutinies of the catechumens, the three readings from the Gospel of John about the healing of the man born blind, the raising of Lazarus and the Samaritan woman all pointed me toward conversion experiences that enriched my prayer life and openness to what God was calling me to as a new disciple and member of the Church. What moved me was hearing the voice of Jesus telling me “do you know that I love you?” I said, “Yes, I do!” and every Easter I am reminded of God’s love for me, and that he is always with me in times of darkness as well as in times of joy. God’s love endures and strengthens all of us for the journey, and this is the great blessing of each Easter season.

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Fifth Sunday of Lent
 Friendship and Compassion
By Sister Mary Antonine Manning

Jesus had many friends, among them Lazarus and his sisters, Martha and Mary. They lived in Bethany, not far from Jerusalem, and Jesus must have visited them regularly and received food, companionship and needed rest.

Lazarus became seriously ill, and a message was sent to Jesus up north in Galilee. By the time Jesus arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had died and been in his tomb for four days. Mary and Martha must have been longing for Jesus to come to them and they both declared:

“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” What faith they showed! At the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus wept for his dear friend and for the suffering of Mary and Martha. His compassion prompted him to pray to his heavenly Father and then call Lazarus back to life. As a result “many of the Jews who had come. . .and seen what he had done began to believe in him.”

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What lessons can we learn from this? Pope Francis encourages us to imitate Jesus.

“Let. . . Jesus enter your life; welcome him as a friend, with trust: he is life! If up till now you have kept him at a distance, step forward. He will receive you with open arms. If you have been indifferent, take a risk; you won’t be disappointed. If following him seems difficult, don’t be afraid; trust him, be confident that he is close to you. He is with you and he will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as he would have you do.

We must find the Lord who consoles us and go to console the people of God. This is the mission. People today certainly need words, but most of all they need us to bear witness to the mercy and tenderness of the Lord, which warms the heart, rekindles hope and attracts people towards the good. What a joy it is to bring God’s consolation to others!”

Use these questions to guide your reflection:

  • What do I need to do to become a closer friend of Jesus?
  • How am I called to “bear witness to the mercy and tenderness of the Lord which warms the heart, rekindles hope and attracts people towards the good”?

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Written by Sr. Lisa Megaffin, SND

Inspired by John 11:1-45

Yellow rose in garden of Notre Dame Center

Where are the roses of friendship in your life? How do they bring you closer to God?

The story of Lazarus and the words “Jesus wept” reveal God’s invitation to intimate friendship.

In John 15, Jesus indicates “I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father, I have made known to you.”  This divine revelation includes familiarity, care, forgiveness, hope, delight and joy—all that describes authentic friendship. Through no effort on their part, the disciples experienced Jesus’ friendship and unconditional love. In turn, they must share this love.

Jesus’ tears cannot be exclusively associated with his grief over the death of Lazarus; they reveal his affection for every human person. Jesus weeps in his frustration that his offers of spiritual intimacy, unconditional love and friendship will be misunderstood and rejected.

Our resurrection is an ongoing spiritual event as we are inspired to abandon sin and to accept God’s friendship. God’s invitation to intimacy comes in many ways, including Scripture, the Sacraments and, I like to believe, the “sacramental of friendship.” As all-embracing as our relationships can be, each friendship reveals the very heart of God and helps to make the resurrection a real-life experience.

In God’s providence, this reading of the raising of Lazarus coincides with the end of my own treatments for cancer. Since last July, I have journeyed through diagnosis, chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. I will always be humbled and grateful for the graces of the “sacramental of friendship” from relatives, Sisters and Associates of Notre Dame, colleagues, medical care-givers, and friends. The Sisters of Notre Dame believe that “where one of us is, all of us are.” The spiritual reservoir of community and friendship has been a source of great strength for me in moments of anxiety and physical weakness. Words are inadequate to thank all who have journeyed with me; I ask God to give you special graces as my gratitude.

“If you believe, you will see the glory of God…” May the glory of God, as seen in the raising of Lazarus and in the graces of divine and human friendship, strengthen our confidence in His provident care.

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