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Angelus Address: Fifth Sunday of Lent: The Resurrection of Lazarus

‘Jesus Makes Himself Seen as the Lord of Life, Who Is Able to Give Life also to the Dead’

Pope Francis on the Fifth Sunday of Lent recalled Jesus’ raising of Lazarus from the dead, described in the 11th chapter of the Gospel of John. His comments came before reciting the Angelus from the Library of the Apostolic Vatican Palace.

The Holy Father noted how Lazarus’ sister lamented that if only Jesus had arrived earlier her brother would not have died. Of course, Christ had other plans.

“Jesus would have been able to avoid the death of his friend Lazarus, but He wished to make our grief His own for the death of dear persons, and He wished especially to show God’s dominion over death.,” Pope Francis said. “In this passage of the Gospel, we see that man’s faith and the omnipotence of God’s love seek one another and finally meet.”

Here is a translation of the Pope’s address before and after the Marian prayer.

* * *

 Before the Angelus:

 Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

The Gospel of this Fifth Sunday of Lent is that of Lazarus’ resurrection (Cf. John 11:1-45). Lazarus was the brother of Martha and Mary; they were very good friends of Jesus. When He arrived at Bethany, Lazarus had been dead already for four days. Martha runs to meet the Master and says to Him: “If You had been here, my brother would not have died” (v. 21). Jesus answered her: “Your brother will rise again” (v. 23), and He added: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live” (v. 25). Jesus makes Himself seen as the Lord of life, He who is able to give life also to the dead. Then Mary and other people arrived, all weeping, and then Jesus — says the Gospel — was deeply moved and [. . . ] He wept” (vv. 33.35). With this trouble in his heart, He goes to the tomb, thanks the Father who always listens to Him, has the sepulcher opened and cries loudly: “Lazarus, come out” (v. 43). And Lazarus came out with “his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth” (v. 44). Here we see with our own eyes that God is life and gives life, but He takes charge of the drama of death. Jesus would have been able to avoid the death of his friend Lazarus, but He wished to make our grief His own for the death of dear persons, and He wished especially to show God’s dominion over death. In this passage of the Gospel, we see that man’s faith and the omnipotence of God’s love seek one another and finally meet. We see it in the cry of Martha and Mary and of all of us with them: “If you had been here!… “ And God’s answer isn’t a speech, no, Jesus is God’s answer to the problem of death: “I Am the resurrection and the life . . . Have faith! In the midst of weeping, continue to have faith, even if it seems that death won. Take away the stone from your heart! Let the Word of God bring life where there is death.”

Today too, Jesus repeats: “Take away the stone.” God hasn’t created us for the tomb; He has created us for a beautiful, good and joyful. “But through the devil’s envy death entered the world” (Wisdom 2:24), says the Book of Wisdom, and Jesus Christ came to free us from his snares. So, we are called to take away the stones of all that has to do with death: for instance, the hypocrisy with which the faith is lived, is death; destructive criticism of others, is death; offense <and> slander, is death; the marginalization of the poor, is death. The Lord asks us to take away these stones from our heart and then life will flourish again around us. Christ lives and he who receives Him and adheres to him enters into contact with life. Without Christ, or outside of Christ, not only is life not present but one falls into death.

Lazarus’ resurrection is also a sign of the regeneration that is brought about in the believer through Baptism, with a full insertion in Christ’s Paschal Mystery. By the action and strength of the Holy Spirit, a Christian is a person that walks in life as a new creature: a creature for life and that goes to life.

May the Virgin Mary help us to be compassionate as Her Son Jesus, who made our grief His own. May each one of us be close to those being tested, becoming for them a reflection of God’s love and tenderness, which frees from death and makes life win.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

 

After the Angelus:

 Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the past days, the UN Secretary-General launched an appeal to “cease the global and immediate fire in all corners of the world,” recalling the present COVID-19 emergency, which knows no borders – an appeal to total cease-fire.

I join all those that have listened to this appeal and I invite all to follow it up, halting all forms of warlike hostility, fostering the creation of corridors for humanitarian aid, openness to diplomacy and attention to those that find themselves in a situation of greatest vulnerability. May the joint commitment against the pandemic be able to bring all to recognize our need to reinforce fraternal bonds with members of the one family; in particular, may it awaken in nations’ leaders and other parties involved a renewed commitment to overcome rivalries. Conflicts aren’t resolved through war! It’s necessary to overcome antagonisms and oppositions through dialogue and a constructive search for peace.

At this moment, my thought goes especially to all those people suffering the vulnerability of being constrained to live in a group: rest homes, barracks . . . I would like to mention particularly persons in prisons. I read an official note of the Human Rights Commission, which speaks of overcrowded prisons, which could become a tragedy. I ask the Authorities to be sensitive to this grave problem and to take the necessary measures to avoid future tragedies.

I wish you all a good Sunday. Please, don’t forget to pray for me; I do so for you. Enjoy your lunch and goodbye.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

About Jim Fair

Jim Fair is a husband, father, grandfather, writer, and communications consultant. He also likes playing the piano and fishing. He writes from the Chicago area.

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