mar 102008

I går var mange tusen mennesker samla på Petersplassen og hørte pave Benedikts betraktninger om dagens tekst; oppvekkelsen av Lasarus – det siste store tegne Jesus gjorde før sin egen død og oppstandelse. Her er en engelsk oversettelse av hva han sa (fra

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In our Lenten journey we have arrived at the 5th Sunday, characterized by the Gospel that narrates the resurrection of Lazarus (John 11:1-45). This is the last great “sign” worked by Jesus, and after it the high priests will convene the Sanhedrin and will decide to kill him; it is also decided that Lazarus himself will be killed. Lazarus was the living proof of Christ’s divinity and Christ is the Lord of life and death. In reality this Gospel passage shows Jesus as true Man and true God.

In the first place the evangelist insists on his friendship with Lazarus and the sisters Martha and Mary. He emphasizes that “Jesus loved them very much”, and for this reason wants to work the great prodigy. “Our friend Lazarus has died, but I am going to awaken him”. This is how he spoke to the disciples, expressing God’s view of physical death with the metaphor of sleep: God indeed sees it as sleep from which one can awaken. Jesus shows an absolute power in the face of this death: One sees it when he gives life back to the young son of the widow of Nain (cf. Luke 7:11-17) and to the 12-year-old daughter (cf. Mark 5:35-43). Of the young girl he says, “She is not dead but sleeping” (Mark 5:39), provoking the derision of those present. But in truth this is precisely what it is: The death of the body is a sleep from which God can awaken one at any moment.

This lordship over death does not impede Jesus from experiencing sincere compassion for the sorrow of parting. Seeing Mary and Martha crying and, along with those who had come to console them, Jesus too “is deeply moved and disturbed” and in the end “he wept”. Jesus’ heart is divine-human: In him God and man have perfectly met, without separation and without confusion, he is the image, indeed, the incarnation of the God who is love, mercy, paternal and maternal tenderness, of the God who is Life. This is why he solemnly declares to Martha: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, he will live; whoever lives and believes in me, will never die.” And he adds: “Do you believe this?”

It is a question that Jesus addresses to each one of us; a question that certainly overwhelms us, it overwhelms our ability to understand, and it asks us to entrust ourselves to him, as he ha s entrusted himself to the Father. Martha’s response is exemplary: “Yes, O Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world”. Yes, O Lord! We too believe, despite our doubts and our darkness; we believe in you, because you have the words of eternal life; we want to believe in you, who gives us a trustworthy hope of life beyond life, of authentic and full life in your kingdom of light and peace.

We entrust this prayer to Mary Most Holy. May her intercession strengthen our faith and our hope in Jesus, especially in the moments of great trial and difficulty.

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