THEME: The Dead Rise Again.

BY: Fr. Gerald M. Musa


Ezekiel 37:12-14; Romans 8:8-11; John 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33-45;

I told a friend that people who have died are still alive in a different way. The friend asked, “Does that mean that my relations and friends who have died are still alive?” I responded, “Yes, they are certainly alive. I added, what do you think we are saying as Christians when we profess the 11th and 12th articles of the Creed: “I believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.” Let us clearly state three salient points: God is the giver of life; life is a gift forever; and after life on earth the life hereafter continues. When we say the human person is made in the image and likeness of God, we mean that the human creature shares in the immortal nature of God. Once upon a time, Jesus said to Nicodemus: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The idea of enjoying everlasting life may appear complex and sound unbelievable to us but it is the core of our faith. The French philosopher Voltaire once said: “Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.”

The raising of the people of Israel from their graves and the raising of Lazarus from the dead prepare our minds towards understanding the resurrection of Jesus and our resurrection. Prophet Ezekiel said to the people of Israel: “Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you home into the land of Israel” (Ezekiel 37:12). The Prophet was speaking to a people who returned from Babylonian exile to their homeland. As a prophet and priest, he led his people into deep reflection about their circumstances in life. Their exile was like being in a graveyard and their return was a resurrection or rising victoriously from the grave of oppression. He saw them as dry bones after the exiles, as dry bones struggling to find their feet and begin life afresh. They lost everything before they went to exile, they were enslaved in exile and they returned from exile to begin life from nothing. Going into exile is one of the most painful experiences.

Often, it is hard to leave our comfort zones, it is worse when we are forcefully removed and taken to another strange land. Whenever we make a voluntary journey of a few days, we often crave to return to our rooms, to our homeland, our natural habitat, and our comfort zones. The people of Israel were in exile in Babylon not just for a year or two, but for seventy hard years. As they finally returned, the prophet Elisha was comforting them and God was helping to breathe the spirit (ruah) of a new life into them.

As Ezekiel presents us with the story of raising Israel from the grave, St. John presents us with the story of Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead. He was physically dead but Jesus described his death as sleep. He said, “Our friend Lazarus is resting, I am going to wake him.” Jesus was told that Lazarus was sick, and he delayed going to cure him until the fourth day after his death. We can imagine what would happen to a doctor who comes four days after a patient is reported critically sick. That Doctor may not stand the wrath of family members and friends; we can imagine a situation where firefighters are called to extinguish a fire and they arrive a day after a building was razed.

Jesus may have delayed ensuring that Lazarus was certified dead before he performed the miracle. The Jews believed that the spirit of a dead person hovers for three days after death and is not completely dead. His arrival four days after the death of Lazarus meant that Lazarus was completely dead at the time of his arrival. When Jesus asked the people around to remove the stone from the tomb of Lazarus, “Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odour, for he has been dead four days” (Luke 11:39). He delayed the miracle to demonstrate the glory of God in raising a man who was certified dead. The raising of Lazarus was the last miracle Jesus performed before his crucifixion and death. Jesus used the opportunity of the death of Lazarus to teach his listeners about the resurrection. He said, “I am the resurrection and the life. If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25). St. Paul vividly explains how we share in the immortal life of Christ. He says, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you” (Romans 8:11). In other words, the mortal body receives life through the Spirit of Christ. die in the flesh (sarx).

If God could bring life to the emotionally dead people of Israel and Jesus could raise Lazarus to life, it means that anyone who is physically, emotionally, and socially dead could be brought back to life. The life we live daily consists of dying and rising. We die in sin and rise through conversion; we die in frustration and rise in hope; we die in selfishness and rise when we adopt a new lifestyle of selflessness; we die in fear and rise with courage; we die in sorrows and rise with joy; we die in our doubts and rise with a renewed faith; we die in sickness and rise with a renewed vigour as we recover; we die under oppression and rise to new life in freedom; we die in subhuman condition induced by poverty and rise by God’s providence. Our family and friends who keenly observe our stories and life journeys can see how we die and rise so many times and how we are constantly supported by the grace of God. Whenever the world gives up on us, God steps in to raise us in the way Jesus raised Lazarus when hope was gone. Jesus prophesied, “For the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice” (John 5:28). If God can bring life to dry bones, he can breathe life into our hopeless, lifelessness. We pray that God may revive the dry bones in us and that whatever is dry in our lives may be revived by the grace of God. He says, “I will put my spirit in you that you may live” (Ezekiel 37:14).


I see apostolates, organisations, ministries, churches, institutions, and highly gifted leaders who were once strong but turned into dry bones. A member of a Charismatic Renewal and Legion of Mary who was called Scholastica was a highly gifted person who prayed for people and they got well, she was a member of the intercessory ministry of the charismatic renewal as she had the gift of piety, she was a member of the teaching ministry as an eloquent preacher who is grounded in the faith. Over the years, she became so popular and pride began to set in; What is more, people who received healing through her prayers showered her with so many gifts and money. Later, she opened a business and as money started flowing, she became wealthy. The business was expanding but the spiritual gifts were no more flourishing. The healing and teaching apostolates became dry bones that needed to be revived. Such is the story of many apostolates and ministries that once flourished and later became moribund.

Many of us were vibrant in faith, academically excellent, socially friendly, spiritually gifted, and materially wealthy. At some point, the challenges of life, the powerful wind of distractions, and the coldness of spiritual life take us backwards and leave us as dry bones struggling to find our feet. Jesus warns his listeners saying, Satan “Comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). The people to be admired most in life are those who remain faithful and focused in the little work they do and those who muster the courage to rise again after they have fallen. The worse set of people in real life and the spiritual realm are those who make mistakes and become too frustrated, defeated, useless, and too emotionally scattered to rise and shine again. Those who rise and bloom again are those who allow Jesus to raise them from feeling defeated, useless, and from the graveyard of hopelessness and bring them back into a new and vibrant life. Jesus commanded Lazarus to come out of the tomb. He commands each of us to come out of our shells and live a rich and satisfying life that only He can give. He is Lord over life and death. Nothing is impossible with God.


Dearest Friend of Homily Hub, We need about $1350 to pay up our subscription debts. We do not only publish the Word of God, we also have a charity Foundation. We accept donations as low as $5. Please, listen to the voice of God in your heart, you could be an answer to our prayers to God. You can also send checks. Fill the simple form below to Donate>>>