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Association of the Miraculous Medal
Weekly Gospel Reflection

Besides her great privilege of being the Mother of God, Mary was also her Son’s first disciple. She is often called the Model, or Exemplar of the Church. Following her example, we walk with her through the Gospels as we reflect on her response to God in her life.

April 2, 2017 —Fifth Sunday of Lent

John 11:1-45
 Father Oscar Lukefahr, C.M.

At a parish mission in Oklahoma, a lady told me that her six year-old daughter Karen had been sick and needed a shot. She assured Karen that it would make her feel better, and it did. Soon after this, Karen’s great-grandfather died. Karen was taken to the funeral home. She walked up to the casket, viewed the body, and asked her mother, “Is my great-grandpa Ryan in heaven with my Father-God?” “Yes, he is,” was the reply. And Karen said, “Well, my Father-God better give my great-grandpa Ryan a shot, ‘cause he don’t look so good!”

Today’s Gospel relates that Lazarus died, and Jesus came to speak to Martha, the sister of Lazarus. She told Jesus that, after four days in the tomb, Lazarus wouldn’t smell so good. But Jesus knew better. The body of Lazarus had been preserved by God from corruption, and Jesus raised him from the dead.          

This was a great miracle, but it had a downside. The last thing the risen Lazarus would ever do on this earth was die again! Contrast this rising from the dead with the Resurrection of Jesus. Jesus will never die again. He truly passed through death: “He descended into hell,” as we say in the Apostles’ Creed. But because he is God, he could not be held down by death. “He rose again on the third day.” Jesus conquered death, a great victory we celebrate at Easter.

Jesus shares this victory with us. As he tells Martha, and us, in the Gospel: “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.”

So great-grandpa Ryan, in heaven with his Father-God, didn’t need a shot. Little Karen would have been amazed had she been able to see how good he looked on the other side of death! Today’s Gospel is a promise of everlasting life, a hint of Easter soon to come. It is a call from Jesus to leave the darkness caused by fear of death, and with Lazarus to walk into a new life of light, hope, and Easter joy.

             Read last week's reflection.