Posted by: Fr Chris | April 4, 2020

Lazarus Saturday

Jericho | Pilgrim Pat

Today we commemorate Jesus’ saving action in one of His most impressive displays of divine power, the raising of a dead man after four days in the tomb. This obviously foreshadows Christ’s Resurrection after three days in His tomb. The raising of Lazarus happens right before Palm Sunday, when Jesus enters the holy city riding a donkey.


IcSMML - Sts. Mary, Martha and Lazarus Orthodox Icon - St Joseph School for Boys Bookstore

Often we emphasize Christ’s power. Today I want to point out something different. We all know Mary and Martha from the famous episode in which Martha is “busy with all the details of hospitality” while Mary sits at Jesus’ feet, taking in His words. In that episode, Mary is praised by Jesus for “taking the better part,” that is, being attentive to the words coming from the mouth of Him Who is the Eternal Word.

11 best Heilige Martha / Icons images on Pinterest | Catholic saints, Religious icons and Saint ...

But notice today that it is Martha who can make the great leap of faith! She praises Jesus as the Son of God, the Messiah, the true Lord of lords. Mary on the other hand reproaches Jesus: had You been here, my brother would not have died. So who listened best on that day in Bethany? Mary sitting at His feet, or Martha going in and out of the kitchen?

How well do I listen to these ancient stories? Do I apply their message to my own life? Or do I just read through them to finish them? Martha prostrates before Jesus, worshipping Him. She knows He is God, even in her mourning. She recognizes Who He is. 

Who do I say Jesus is? In this time of epidemics, death tolls, deciding in hospitals who will live and die, where is God? He is here, always next to us, always speaking to us, and we remain valuable and precious in His sight.

Sheol and Lent – The Catholic Physicist

And Lazarus? His soul had spent four days in Sheol, announcing to the all the souls of the just, from the time of  Adam and Eve down to his own day, that the Messiah was very close, and that their time of waiting was coming to an end. Soon, soon, these souls waitig for thousands of years, would be able to enter into the presence of Almighty God.

Am I ready to do so? Am I ready to die? One thing about epidemics – they force us to think the hard thoughts. By all means, have a will and last testament and funeral plans drawn up. But above all, let us be ready for Christ tomorrow, in Holy Week, and on  Pascha. Let us walk with Him, and remember that He walks with us always.


Byzantine Rite

Roman Rite

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