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The raising of Lazarus

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away. And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home.

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “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?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”

These words of Jesus highlight the episode in the Gospel. In John, “to live,” zōē in Greek, is the standard word for eternal life. Mary and Martha share the same sentiment that had Jesus been present when Lazarus was sick, he would not have died.

Jesus explains that one who believes in him, even if the person dies physically, will live spiritually. The believer who is alive spiritually will never die spiritually. The life described in v 25 is the life from above, which is begotten through the Spirit. Death in v 25 is physical, while death in v 26 is spiritual. Whoever receives the gift of life through belief in Jesus will never die a spiritual death; the person will have eternal life. The evangelist John presents faith as something dynamic; it is a lived faith, not a mere confession with the lips.

The profession of our baptismal faith has to be seen in our daily life. As we celebrate All Souls’ Day, in faith we hope and pray that our departed loved ones already share eternal life with God.

Lord, grant eternal life to all the faithful departed.

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.