Working with the Word
Focusing the Gospel
Key words and phrases: Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died; everyone who lives and believes in me will never die; began to believe in him
To the point: Both Martha and Mary express great conviction in Jesus’ healing power: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Their conviction, however, was tied to their human experience of the fragility of sickness and the finality of death. Jesus’ action surmounts human experience and reveals something entirely new: “everyone who lives and believes in [him] will never die.” Belief in Jesus unties us from the limits of human experience and frees us for the eternity of risen Life.
Connecting the Gospel …
… to First and Second Readings: Ezekiel describes God’s desire to untie Israel from the grave of their captivity and lead them back to the freedom of their land where they can renew their covenantal relationship with God. In the gospel Jesus commands the bystanders concerning the raised Lazarus to “Untie him and let him go [free].”
… to experience: Our experiences of living can sometimes limit us. For example, when a friend has hurt us, we can become leery of deep relationships. In other words, “once bitten, twice shy.” But if we never allow Jesus to break open the limits of our human experiences, we can never receive the unexpected gifts of freedom and Life he offers.
**From Saint Louis University