Unbind him and let him go

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him;
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Jesus said to her,
Your brother will rise.”
Martha said, “I know he will rise,in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life ; whoever believes in me, even if he dies will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me, will never die.”
He cried out in a loud voice,
“Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man came out,
tied hand and foot with burial bands,
and his face was wrapped in a cloth.
So Jesus said to them,
“Untie him and let him go
.”

-John 11:17, 20, 23-25,43-44

Jesus continues his march to Jerusalem where he will allow himself to be convicted, scouraged and crucified. Raising Lazarus from the dead is actually the last of Jesus’ miracles before his crucifixion.

In fact, if you read on in John’s Gospel, you will find that by raising Lazarus from the dead, He so enfuriates the Jewish leaders that they begin to plot the death of Jesus.

In this story we have a bit of an allegory for the whole of Jesus’ mission. What does Jesus do? He resurrects a man to life who has been dead for 4 days. What does it cost Him? He sparks the furry of his enemies and they make plans to kill Him. Jesus liberates Lazarus from death and the tomb and in exchange, He boldly approaches his own self-sacrificing death.

For Reflection

We have eternal life because Jesus died for us. He died that we might live free, unafraid, and happy with Him forever.

To Do

There are lots of fun Lazarus crafts and games online if you look. The one I thought was coolest requires at least three people and two sheets. One player wraps the other two up in a sheet. Once they are both secured in the sheet, it’s a race to see who can escape first.

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened

As Jesus passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth.

Jesus spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and anointed the man’s eyes with clay, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Silo’am (which means Sent.) So he went and washed and came back seeing. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar, said, “Is not this the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is he”; others said, “No, but he is like him.” He said “I am the man.”

John 9:1, 6-9

This excerpt from John’s Gospel takes place as Jesus is making his way to Jerusalem. There, he will be crucified and will give his life for the redemption of the world. Several of the events that occur and the encounters that Jesus has as he makes this journey fulfill the prophecies of Isaiah from about 700 years before the Incarnation. Isaiah proclaims, “Behold, your God will come…He will come and save you. The the eyes of the blind shall be opened…(Is 35:4-5)” Isaiah continues to list the wonderful signs that will accompany God’s salvation. Throughout the gospels, Jesus shows himself to be the one foretold by the prophets. This story is just one of many such episodes.

It might seem strange how Jesus chooses to heal this man. What does He do? He spits on the ground. He makes a muddy, clay mixture and smears it on the man’s eyes. Surely, as God, Jesus could have come up with a more hygienic and palatable way to restore the man’s sight! And yet, this is what Jesus does, so we must think about why He would do such a thing.

First, recall the creation account from Genesis. God makes man from dust of the ground. Now consider saliva. Saliva is over 95% water. Also, in this case, the water comes from the body of Jesus. The Church uses water in Baptism. So, in the Scriptures, man is created from the dust of the earth, and in Baptism, men and women are recreated- freed from sin, and made children of God.

In this story, Jesus is signaling that His mission is to “recreate.” He is the one whom the prophets promised would be sent to make God present among the people and to restore what was lost by sin.

For Reflection

What does it mean that Jesus has come to “recreate”? Does creation need to be redone or fixed? Do we believe that Jesus has the mission and power to do this? How is this work continued now that He has ascended to Heaven?

Activity

At Baptism, you were given new life in Christ. Find your Baptsimal certificate. Read it over. Mark the date of your Baptism on your calendar. Thank God and your parents for the gift of your Baptism.

If you knew the gift of God…

Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar,
near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there.
Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well.
It was about noon.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water.
Jesus said to her,
“Give me a drink.”
His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him,
“How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”
—For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.—
Jesus answered and said to her,
“If you knew the gift of God
and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink, ‘
you would have asked him
and he would have given you living water.”

-John 4:4-10

It is a great mystery that God became man.

The Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Son, in an act of obedient love, gave up all the majesty, power, and glory of God to take on a human nature. He came into the world as a poor, tiny child, who would eventually be imprisoned, beaten, and crucified.

In this gospel reading from John, we are invited to contemplate, once again, the utter humility and giftedness of God the Son. Jesus is “tired from his journey.” God is tired and thirsty. The Word of God, through whom the seas and the entire universe was created, asks for a drink.

The woman balks at this idea, because “Jews used nothing in common with Samaritans.” This was because the Jews looked down on the Samaritans. Though they both traced their heritage back to Jacob, the Samaritans had intermarried with pagans and adopted some of the pagan traditions. Jesus responds, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you ‘give me a drink’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.

Jesus’ “living water” is his own life, poured out for us. He did this once and for all on the Cross. Each time the Church baptizes a person, Jesus’ living water is again poured out. It cleanses the soul and makes a new creation. The baptized is given a new life in Christ that he/she may enjoy for all eternity.

For Reflection

God will never force us to love him and serve him. It is our free will choice. He comes to us in humility and invites us into a relationship, just as he did with the Samaritan woman.

Activity

Look for an opportunity to cheerfully serve another person. This could be something as simple as getting a drink for a younger sibling who cannot reach the cups, or offering to help a parent do the dishes. Do one small activity of service this day, and offer it to Jesus.