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John, chapter 11: 1-57
“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever has faith in me shall live, even though he dies; and no one who lives and has faith in me shall ever die” (11:25-26).
Jesus in these verses of the bible is claiming to be the resurrection and the life. This Chapter 11 of Johns Gospel the resurrection of Lazarus is the sixth sign-miracle. This passage looks easy and simple to be understood but with very deep theological and practical teachings:
Jesus told the messengers “This illness will not end in death, rather it is for God’s glory and the Son of God will be glorified through it”… and then to the disciples, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going to wake him up”…The disciples did not understand it, so finally Jesus told them: “Lazarus is dead” (11:4,11,14).
Since Jesus Christ, the “physical death” for a Christian is just the glorious door to enter Heaven for the eternal honeymoon with the Lamb. The feast-day of the Saints is not the day they were born but the day they died, the greatest day in their lives!.
In the Gospel human death is removed from its normal contest at the end of life and placed in the very middle of life: In Christ we die and are raised as we commit our lives to Him…. now, even death is a cause of great joy for a Christian!… Death has been defeated… after death, our perishable being puts on imperishable life; our mortal body puts on immortality. Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting? (1Cor.26, 54-55)
But there is “another Death”, and that’s the death of the spirit and soul, caused by sin, because “sin is the sting of death to kill” (1Cor.15:56)… and there is still a much worst death, the “second death”, which is the final and eternal separation from God following physical death. It is described in the Bible as the lake of fire, and a lake burning with fire and sulfur, for those who died without Christ (Rev.20:14, 21:8)… and that’s the death Jesus was referring to when he told the messengers, “this illness will not end in death”.
In the verses 25 and 26: Jesus started the conversation with Martha telling her “your brother will rise again”. And Martha replied, “I know that he will rise in the resurrection, at the last day” (11:23-24)… and it is not enough?… she seems to think it is not. Thus, by our discontent under present crosses we demonstrate our little faith and we greatly undervalue our future hopes!
So, Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?“ (Jn.11:25-26).
The climax of their conversation was the Great Declaration of verses 25 and 26, which can be read, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in Me shall live for ever a glorious eternal life, though they die a natural death… they will actually never die… or rather, they will die physically to live the most glorious life with the same body and soul they had on earth, but transformed into a glorious incorruptible one in Heaven”.
Whosoever lives on earth, if he believes in Christ, he shall live by Him a glorious live on earth, and on top of it, he shall never die, but have eternal life:
This is how Paul puts it: “The brightness of the sun differs from the brightness of the moon and the stars, and the stars differ from one another in brightness. It is the same with the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in decomposition, and it will be raised never more to die. It is sown in humiliation, and it will be raised for Glory. It is buried in weakness, but the resurrection shall be with power. When buried is a natural body, but it will be raised as a spiritual body… Our perishable body puts on imperishable life, our mortal being puts on immortality” (1Cor.15:42-43, 54)
And what about the one who has leukemia or a very bad heart or a 94 year-old body? He will be resurrected without the leukemia and with a good heart… and with the strength of his 40s, and the agility of his teenage years, and with the candor of his childhood, and with poise of his mature age… his body will be like the one of Jesus’ resurrected, who can pass through walls, be in the deep of the ocean and in the top of a mountain in twinkling of an eye, or rather in both places at the same time, and can fly from star to star, and be in all places at the same time… it is like the “imagination”, but now real!… it is like God himself, present at the same time at your home and at mine, in your heart and in mine, praise the Lord!.
And the resurrection is for all, including you and me. This is how Paul says: “I want to teach you a mystery: Although not all of us will die, all of us have to be transformed, in an instant, at the sound of the trumpet. Then, in the twinkling of an eye, the dead will be raise imperishable, while we shall be transformed. “ (1Cor15:51-53).
Two eternities are waiting for you and me
Believe it or not, want it or not: Eternally in Heaven or eternally in Hell. This is how John says: “Do not be surprised at this: The hour is coming when all those lying in tombs will hear my voice and come out. Those who have done good deeds shall rise to live, and those who have done wicked deeds to be condemned” (Jn.5:28-29).
Those who were happy on earth, living with the emotion and enthusiasm of a bride, being generous, doing good deeds, always joyful trusting in the Lord, on top of it, they will go to eternal Heaven.
But those who lived on earth with worries and fears, being selfish, doing wicked deeds, trusting only in the nothingness of themselves, on top of it, they will go to Hell for ever and ever. Mt.25:31-46, Rom.2:5-10, 2Cor.5:10, Rev.20:11-15.
This expression appears dozens of times in the Gospels. Death is still a foe, but the one who has eternal life already experiences the kind of existence that will never end. The one trusting in the Son has already eternal life; the one disobeying the Son has already the wrath of God abiding on him (Jn.3:36). The one who hears Jesus and believes in the Father does not come into condemnation but has passed out of death into life (Jn.5:24).
John compared the lifting of the serpent in the wilderness to the lifting up the Son of Man on the cross, and the persons who trust in Christ have eternal life.
The rich young man asked Jesus, “What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”. The response of Jesus here was not just “to believe”, but “sell all your possessions, give them to the poor and you will become the owner of a treasure in heaven, and then come back and follow me” (Mt.19, Mk.10, Lk.18).
I would like to finish this section with one of the most cherished quotations of many Christians: “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who died, so that you may nor grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, , God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord… the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them, to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words” (1Thes.4:13-18)… and this will be soon for you and for me.
As soon as Maria knew of Jesus went to Him immediately: This is what we have to do always, in all circumstances, because Jesus is now always here, with us… but most specially in times of trouble. You know the story of the man on the beach. Jesus was telling him that he was always at his side, and that’s why there two sets of foot-prints in the beach of his life, those of the man and those of Jesus at his side… But the man noticed: Look there, when I was in deep trouble there were only one set of foot-prints, where were you, Jesus, when I needed you the most?. Jesus told him: Those foot-prints were mine, yours were not there because in that times of trouble I was carrying you in my arms. Praise the Lord.
Maria told Jesus exactly the same words of Martha, “Lord, if you have been here, my brother would not have died”… the only difference is that Maria was weeping, and when there is weeping, there is not time for sermons, but to action. And that’s what Jesus did: He asked immediately for the tomb.
“And Jesus wept” (11:35): if you ever weep, Jesus will weep too, and he will move immediately to action, to help your need…
“Take the stone away“ (11:39), that’s the first thing he ordered: In most of the miracles of Jesus someone had to do something: Remove the stone, fill the jars with water, offer his 5 loads of bread, lower your nets for a catch, go the Siloam pool to wash your eyes… that’s your job and mine in time of need: We have to put the water when wine is needed, or offer our little bread to feed the world… nothing!… but a lot!… Jesus will do the miracle, and only the water we put will be converted into wine. When your neighbor or relative has problems you have to do your very best physically but then Jesus will do the rest!… just go and stay with him, help him to go to Confession, pray for him and with him, look for solutions or remove the stones of jealousy or hate or fear…
“By now he will smell, for this is the fourth day“ (11:39), replied Martha. On the fourth day the body enters corruption, Jesus resurrected at the third day, so His body did not enter corruption. And Jesus, again, gave Martha, and you and me, a beautiful lesson; “if you believe, you will see the glory of God”… do you believe?
“A prayer” (11:41-42). Before the miracle Jesus prayed giving thanks to the Father in advance, because the Father always hears him, and you and me!… we have to pray, giving thanks is the best prayer. Prayers are the tiny threats that move the heart of God. “Father, I thank you that you had heard me, I knew that you hear me always, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that you did send me.” (11:41-42)
“Lazarus, come out” (11:43), Jesus cried out. And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips and his head wrapped in a cloth (11:44)… the miracle was immediate, speedily, and perfect. Jesus said “Lazarus”, can you imagine he only had said “come out”?: All the corpses of the cemetery would have come out immediately, that’s the power of God!.
“Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go”. (11:44)… Yes, again, we have to de the job of God: unbind the sinners, and let them go free to praise the Lord… Jesus is the one who makes the miracle, but you and i have to finish it, to unbind him, and let him go!.
Do you believe in Jesus or do you want to kill him?… Usually this are the two kind of responses when one knows Jesus.
Only a remark: “the chief priest and the elders had given orders that anyone who knew where Jesus was let them know so that they could arrest him” (11:57)… the wicked always want to get others involved in their wickedness!
Jesus want there because he would like prepare Himself for the Passover of the Jews, for the last week of His life on earth, for the week of His Passion, Death, and Resurrection.
Saturday (Vigil): 4:40pm Rosary & Rec., 5:00pm Mass
Sunday: 7:30am, 9am & 6pm, Vietnamese 11:15am.
Monday: 9:15am Mass, Ador. & Rec.
Tuesday: 6:15pm Ador., 6.30pm Rosary & Rec., 7pm Mass
Wednesday: 9:15am Mass, Ador. & Rec.
Thursday: 9:15am Mass, Ador. & Rec.
Friday: 9:15am Mass, Ador. & Rec.
First Friday: Ador. 7am-7:30pm.
Masses at 9:15am & 7:30pm with Anointing of the Sick and 4pm in Vietnamese.
Ador. – Adoration.
Rec. – Reconciliation.
Office Opening Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday: 8:30am to 4 pm.
Office Location: Presbytery (Entry Via Beaconsfield St).
Priest: Rev Dariusz Basiaga SDS PP JP
Phone: (02) 9773 9065
Email: Parish Office
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