Introduction: Following the previous Lectio Divina, Jn 11:1-37, we now continue and go further and conclude this second part with the text Jn 11:38-45, the interaction of Jesus with Lazarus, and Jesus with the Father.
Thank you for sending us
Your Son, the Good Shepherd
Who gave up his life
To rescue us from the power of
Sin and death and to lead us to
The fullness of life
- Read the text John 11:-38-45 read the text slowly and listen attentively with the ‘ear of your heart’. What word, sentence or phrase stands out for you?
- Reflect: read the text again and pay attention of what touches you; why is it meaningful for you. What thought or reflection comes to you.
- Respond: read the text again but this time respond spontaneously to the word of God. In other words, make a dialogue with God what comes from within you. What gift does this text lead you to ask for from the Lord?
- Stay with the Word: read the text a final time and rest in the word. Allow God to speak to you in deep silence. Don’t say anything just listen to God’s words. What is He saying?
- Take now the word, sentence or phase, into your daily life/activity; allow it to become part of you. Always listen to it, reflect on it, pray over it and rest on it as time allows during the day. Then allow the Word lead you action.
Conclude your ‘Lectio Divina’ with the ‘Our Father’…
Reflection: In this text of St John’s gospel Jesus expresses a mix of deep feelings, on the one hand there is sadness, distress, grieve and disappointment, to the point of shedding tears; and on the other hand gratitude and trust for the Glory of God has been revealed.
Central Message: “Jesus, again deeply moved, drew near the tomb”…He said ‘take the stone away’ … “Jesus lifted up his eyes and said Father I thank you for hearing my prayer”…’Lazarous here, come out!… ‘Unbid him and let him go free.’
a) Jesus, again deeply moved, drew near the tomb…He said ”take the stone away.” In previous verses 34-36, Jesus did not repress his feeling of distress and grief when he saw Mary and the Jews weeping; and again in verse 38 he was deeply trouble. The comment made by the onlookers of Jesus’ tears, that it was a sing of his affection for Lazarous. But it can be said that Jesus weeps because he is disappointed and trouble at the set back of Mary’s trust which was absorbed by her grief and loss. Her loss and pain for her beloved brother impeded her to see the author of life. She and the others didn’t understand Jesus’ presence as God’s giving life. Jesus weeps because by raising Lazarous it will entail his own death through suffering and pain that the world will never understand and accept. When death visited us through the death of a close relative or a dear one we hardly accepted it living in denial for long periods of time. Like Mary, the loss and grief for someone dear to us blocks and engulfs our faith and the presence of the risen Lord in such events. Unless you have faith and trust in the author of life he will bring comfort to your pain and fill the gap that your dear one left in your heart.
b) ‘He said, take the stone away’. Jesus approaching the tomb orders to take the stone away, so that the dead man Lazarous can come out of the tomb rose from the dominion of death. This very text transport us to Jesus’ tomb (conf. John 19:40-41), where Mary Magdalene found the heavy stone removed and saw an empty tomb. Jesus invites us all who are alive to remove the stone of our bodily tombs so that he may give and bring life back to our spiritual death. He only needs that you remove from within you the stones that block the access to the Lord. He wants you to live your life to the full; he wants you to realise that he is by your side present at any situation of your life. Do not live immerse or be engulf by sadness or despair which blind your sight and impedes to see the Lord.
c) “Jesus lifted up his eyes and said “Father I thank you for hearing my prayer”. Jesus turns to the Father in prayer before the incredulity of those standing there. He first thanks the Father for hearing his prayer for he knows that the He always hears him. He then in total trust asks him for a sing for the sake of those standing there so that they may believe that the Father sent him. His pray reflects the intimacy he has with God by calling him Father and his trust in him. He knows the Father and the Father knows the Son (Lk 12:22). He does what he sees the Father is doing (Jn 5:19). Jesus didn’t ask him straight away for a miracle, he thanks him first for hearing his prayer, for being attentive to the needs of his people. Jesus teaches us here the importance of being grateful to the Father, that every time we begin our prayer we thank God for listen to us and to acknowledge that without him nothing is possible.
Some questions for our reflexion:
- What is your immediate reaction seeing Jesus expressing his deep feelings?
- What stones do you have to remove to make free access to Jesus into your life?