April 23, 2016
Today is Lazarus Saturday, and, together with Palm Sunday, marks the transition from Lent to Holy Week. Both Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday are public events that announce the triumph of Christ and serve as triggers to the events of Holy Week.
Saint John tells us in his Gospel that six days before His own death, Jesus went to Bethany where his friend Lazarus had died and had already been in the tomb for four days. By publicly raising Lazarus to life, He was clearly foreshadowing His own resurrection and proclaiming the universal resurrection of humankind.
The Church gives us this celebration of the raising of Lazarus just before we enter Holy Week in order to reassure us during the coming commemoration of Christ’s Passion. It reminds that, though He suffers and dies, He remains Lord and Victor over death. The liturgical texts emphasise the two natures of Christ, the God-man. In His grief for His friend we see His true humanity, and in His act of raising Lazarus from the dead we see His divine power. We shall continue to encounter this fullness of both humanity and divinity throughout Holy Week, for Christ enters into our suffering as a human being. But He also enters it as it as the God who defeats all suffering and death.
By Your word, O Word of God, Lazarus now leaps out of death, having returned to this life. Therefore the peoples honour You with their branches, O Mighty One; for You shall destroy Hades utterly by Your own death.
By means of Lazarus has Christ already plundered you, O death. Where is your victory, O Hades? For the lament of Bethany is handed over now to you. Let us all wave against it our branches of victory.
Exaposteilaria for Lazarus Saturday