The Lord Gives an Image of Our Future Resurrection

A Homily for Lazarus Saturday

Two great events took place in a row, which the Church celebrates Saturday and Sunday as two feasts: Saturday is the feast of the Raising of Lazarus, the greatest miracle worked by our Savior during His earthly life, and tomorrow—the triumphant royal entrance of the Lord into His royal capital city of Jerusalem. The Church celebrates this miracle of Christ today. We know the story about it, how the Evangelist John says that the Lord, having come to raise Lazarus, first as a man raised up His prayer to the Heavenly Father. Then, as the Omnipotent God He worked the miracle, as the Evangelist emphasizes: He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth (Jn. 11:43). The Church says many times in the hymns for the feast that all of hell was shaken by this exclamation with a loud voice. The whole abyss and netherworld were shaken, because this voice was addressed not only and not so much to the decaying body that was in the cave, but to the spirit that was in these dungeons of death then. Hearing the voice, Lazarus, come forth, the soul of the righteous Lazarus was released from hell.

Celebrating this, the Church indicates to us that the Lord gives us an image of our future resurrection. He Himself said that there will come a day and time when all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth (Jn. 5:28-29). And to further assure His faithful, to show them how it will go, the Lord worked this miracle, so that everyone heard firsthand the voice of the Son of God, which calls a dead man from the grave. Only, then it was addressed to Lazarus alone, but at the end of the age, it will be addressed to all the departed.

Such was the resurrection of Lazarus; and on Sunday the Lord will go to Jerusalem. We know from the story of the feast how solemnly this procession took place! How the Holy Apostles rejoiced! How the people rejoiced! And when they entered the Temple, the Savior heard those greetings that were probably the most pleasant for Him, because the “innocent” children were already there, as the Church says—innocent, pure children joyfully greeted Him, saying: Hosanna to the son of David! (Mt. 21:9). And when the enemies of Christ, angered by this glory and triumph, tried to point it out to Him so that He would tell them to be silent, then the Lord said: Have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise? (Mt. 21:16).

We celebrate these events, but let us not forget that they lead us to further sacred great memories of Holy Week and the Resurrection of Christ, and it will be the duty of everyone, of course, to try to go to church as often as possible on these holy days, to enrich themselves from the spiritual wealth offered to all the faithful on these holy days.


Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky)
Translation by Jesse Dominick


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