HOMILY Theme: The Lazarus Experience

By: Fr. Benny Tuazon


(Jn. 11:1-45) Fifth Sunday of Lent.

SUNDAY: In today’s Gospel we have John’s account of the bringing back to life of Lazarus by Jesus. Martha had sent message to Jesus that Lazarus was ailing. But Jesus did not go immediately. That was maybe the reason why Martha told Him that Lazarus would not have died had JESUS been there. The response of Jesus when He received the news of Lazarus’ death says it all, “This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Jesus was in control. Finally Jesus arrived days after Lazarus’ death. He brought Him back to life. Many began to believe in Jesus.

The Gospel prepares us for the next two weeks which will culminate in the celebration of Easter, the feast of the resurrection of Jesus. What Jesus had done to Lazarus was not yet the resurrection. This bringing back to life, maybe a resuscitation, for a lack of a better term, was also done by Jesus to a little girl and by the Father to the son of the widow from Naim. Maybe close to a patient who had died but was resuscitated after some valiant efforts by a doctor. In any case, it was different from the resurrection. Just as Jesus had promised, He meant to let Lazarus die of His illness and then bring him back to life for God’s greater glory. Lazarus still died later but Jesus was able to show God’s power over death.



Lazarus’ experience and Jesus’ behavior might be hard to understand but let us remember that Jesus was still on a mission. JOHN, in his Gospel, meant to reveal through Jesus’ teachings and miracles His divinity. That He was the Messiah the Jews were waiting for. As what happened, many began to believe after witnessing the miracle.

Miracles do happen. Miracles touch our will and our faith. The phenomenon of the spectacular awake our reason and our faith. The penchant for the impossible and the incredible invites us to the supernatural and beyond. We will need this come Easter when we will celebrate the resurrection of the Lord. It is the basis of our faith. While it cannot be fully explained by reason or grasp by our limited mind because it is bigger than our mind can understand, faith can help us leap over the great abyss to the other side which is acceptance. Meantime, we find reasons to believe. The words of the Lord and His miracles give us those reasons.

Let us be nourished by each morning and evening, joy and sorrow, success and failure, life and death, ignorance and wisdom, poverty and richness, faith and doubt. Let us grow amidst all of these challenges and threats to faith specially in the resurrection. Never forget that God is in control. We are invited to enter in His reign and in His Kingdom. After all is said and done, when the smoke has disappeared, we are left standing hand in hand with God.



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