A death in the family - Catholic Courier

A death in the family

Lazarus and his sisters, Martha and Mary, were close friends of Jesus, and they often welcomed him to their home in the village of Bethany.

Jesus was a long distance away from this family of friends when Lazarus suddenly took ill and died.

Upon learning of the death of Lazarus, Jesus waited several days before traveling to be with Martha and Mary.

The Gospel account (John 11:1-43) describes a typical Jewish burial. Wrapped in strips of linen, Lazarus was buried in a cave the same day he died; and sealed with a stone, outside the village. His sisters, according to Jewish custom, began the days of mourning at home.

By the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus had been dead for four days. His body was already decomposing.

Hearing that Jesus was arriving in Bethany, the two sisters left their home to express their grief. "And Jesus wept."

Deeply moved, Jesus went to the tomb and ordered the stone removed. Looking up to heaven, he prayed to God, then said in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out."

The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with linen bandages, his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said, "Loose him; let him go."

The raising of Lazarus was a sign of what the Savior of the world, the Resurrection and the Life, would do for all humanity.

Experiencing the death of a family member is a great hardship of life that sooner or later touches every family. The pain of losing a loved one is difficult to bear and raises questions that can shake one’s faith at its foundation.

This Gospel story can be a great comfort to grieving family members, who can see in the actions of Jesus a loving and compassionate God, who suffers with us in our mourning, who conquers death and grants us eternal life.

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