Lenten Reflection – 3 April – Wednesday of the Fourth week of Lent, Year C
Isaiah 49:8-15; Psalms 145:8-9, 13CD-14, 17-18; John 5:17-30
Do not marvel at this for the hour is coming, when all who are in the tombs, will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgement.…John 5:28-29
Grant us Your forgiveness.
We know that this whole journey is about our reconciliation.
We know that God wants to forgive us.
We know we are preparing to renew our Baptismal promises,
and “refuse to be mastered by sin.”
Today we hear the invitation and ask more earnestly.
In the marvellous discourse that follows His sign of healing,
Jesus says, “I am not seeking my own will but the will of him who sent me.”
I am filled with a sense of sorrow and gratitude,
as I see what He did for me.
I tell you for certain that everyone who hears my message
and has faith in the one who sent me has eternal life
and will never be condemned.
They have already gone from death to life.
“The dead will hear his voice” – “Lazarus, come forth” (Jn 11:43)
Saint Peter Chrysologus (400-450) Father & Doctor of the Church
Our Lord had raised Jairus’s daughter but while the body was still warm and death was only halfway through its work (Mt 9:18f.)… He also raised the widow’s only son but by halting the stretcher and forestalling the tomb… before the dead man had fallen completely under the law of death (Lk 7:11f.). But the whole event that takes place with regard to Lazarus is unique.. Lazarus, in whom all death’s power had been completed and in whom, equally, a complete image of the resurrection shone out… Christ, indeed, returned as Lord on the third day; Lazarus, as servant, was called back to life on the fourth day…
The Lord said and repeated to His disciples: “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes and they will condemn him to death and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified” (Mt 20:18f.). And when He said this, He saw them growing uncertain, sad, comfortless. He knew they had to be crushed by the weight of His Passion until nothing of their own life, their own faith, their own light would remain within them but, to the contrary, their hearts would be darkened with the almost total darkness of their lack of faith. That is the reason why He let Lazarus’s death continue for four days… From this follows what our Lord said to His disciples: “Lazarus has died. And I am glad for you that I was not there, that you may believe” (vv.14-15). Therefore Lazarus’s death was necessary so that the disciples’ faith might rise from the tomb along with Lazarus.
“That I was not there.” Now was there anywhere where Christ was not?… My brethren, Christ as God was there but Christ the man was not. Christ God was there when Lazarus was dying but now Christ man was going to the dead man because Christ our Lord was going enter into death: “It is there, in death, in the tomb, in hell, that all the power of death is to be crushed through me and my death.”
Loving and merciful God,
I am so aware of my sins and weaknesses.
But as painfully aware of my faults as I am,
Let me also remember Your tender love,
Your gentle and limitless forgiveness.
I come before You filled with pain and guilt
but look into Your eyes and see the forgiving love of my Father,
I so long for in my life.
Help me to forgive the same way.
Teach me to love as You love.
May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.