Sunday, April 6, 2014

“You don’t believe things because they make your life better, you believe them because they’re true.”

“Why would the apostles lie?....Liars always lie for selfish reasons. If they lied, what was their motive, what did they get out of it? What they got out of it was misunderstanding, rejection, persecution, torture, and martyrdom. Hardly a list of perks!” – Peter Kreeft: professor of philosophy at Boston College

Gospel text (Jn: 11,1-45): There was a sick man named Lazarus who was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was the same Mary who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair. Her brother Lazarus was sick. 

So the sisters sent this message to Jesus, «Lord, the one you love is sick». On hearing this Jesus said, «This illness will not end in death; rather it is for God's glory and the Son of God will be glorified through it». It is a fact that Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus; yet, after He heard of the illness of Lazarus, He stayed two days longer in the place where He was. 

Only then did He say to his disciples, «Let us go into Judea again». They replied, «Master, recently the Jews wanted to stone you. Are you going there again?». Jesus said to them, «Are not twelve working hours needed to complete a day? Those who walk in the daytime shall not stumble, for they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble, for there is no light in them». After that Jesus said to them, «Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going to wake him». The disciples replied, «Lord, a sick person who sleeps will recover». But Jesus had referred to Lazarus' death, while they thought that He had meant the repose of sleep. So Jesus said plainly, «Lazarus is dead and for your sake I am glad I was not there, for now you may believe. But let us go there, where he is». Then Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, «Let us also go that we may die with him».

When Jesus came, He found that Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. As Bethany is near Jerusalem, about two miles away, many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to offer consolation at their brother's death. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him while Mary remained sitting in the house. And she said to Jesus, «If you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you». Jesus said, «Your brother will rise again». Martha replied, «I know that he will rise in the resurrection, at the last day». But Jesus said to her, «I am the resurrection; whoever believes in me, though he die, shall live. Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?». Martha then answered, «Yes, Lord, I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world».

After that Martha went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying, «The Master is here and is calling for you». As soon as Mary heard this, she rose and went to him. Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. The Jews who were with her in the house consoling her, also came. When they saw her get up and go out, they followed her, thinking that she was going to the tomb to weep. As for Mary, when she came to the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, «Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died». When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews also who had come with her, He was moved in the depths of his spirit and troubled. Then He asked, «Where have you laid him?». They answered, «Lord, come and see». And Jesus wept. The Jews said, «See how He loved him!». But some of them said, «If He could open the eyes of the blind man, could He not have kept this man from dying?».

Jesus was deeply moved again and drew near to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across it. Jesus ordered, «Take the stone away». Martha said to him, «Lord, by now he will smell, for this is the fourth day». Jesus replied, «Have I not told you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?». So they removed the stone. Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, «Father, I thank you for you have heard me. I knew that you hear me always; but my prayer was for the sake of these people, that they may believe that you sent me». When Jesus had said this, He cried out in a loud voice, «Lazarus, come out!». The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips and his face wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, «Untie him and let him go».

Many of the Jews who had come with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw what He did.

“I am the resurrection and the life,
 Whoever believes in me, even if he dies will live, 
And everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
 Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

Jesus asks the same question of us also, “Do you believe this? Do you believe that I am the resurrection and the life? Do you believe that I can mend all the brokenness and wounds of your life?

Don't believe in the resurrection later; believe in the resurrection now. Live in that belief. Try to change because of that belief. Believe that you can be changed. I don't care what it is that assails you.

Believe in the resurrection and the life, Who is with us, now.

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