Lazarus, the friend of Jesus, the brother of Martha and Mary, was the one of whom the Jews said, "See how much he loved him." In their sight Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead.
Legends abound about the life of Lazarus after the death and resurrection of Jesus. He is supposed to have left a written account of what he saw in the next world before he was called back to life. Some say he followed Peter into Syria. Another story is that despite being put into a leaking boat by the Jews at Jaffa, he, his sisters and others landed safely in Cyprus. There he died peacefully after serving as bishop for 30 years.
A church was built in his honor in Constantinople and some of his reputed relics were transferred there in 890. A Western legend has the oarless boat arriving in Gaul. There he was bishop of Marseilles, was martyred after making a number of converts and was buried in a cave. His relics were transferred to the new cathedral in Autun in 1146.
It is certain there was early devotion to the saint. Around the year 390, the pilgrim lady Etheria talks of the procession that took place on the Saturday before Palm Sunday at the tomb where Lazarus had been raised from the dead. In the West, Passion Sunday was called Dominica de Lazaro, and Augustine tells us that in Africa the Gospel of the raising of Lazarus was read at the office of Palm Sunday.
Many people who have had a near-death experience report losing all fear of death. When Lazarus died a second time, perhaps he was without fear. He must have been sure that Jesus, the friend with whom he had shared many meals and conversations, would be waiting to raise him again. We don't share Lazarus' firsthand knowledge of returning from the grave. Nevertheless, we too have shared meals and conversations with Jesus, who waits to raise us, too.
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
"Come to me all you who are burdened
If God were trying to tell me something, would I know?
Knowing that God loves me unconditionally, I look honestly over the last day, its events and my feelings. Do I have something to be grateful for? Then I give thanks. Is there something I am sorry for? Then I ask forgiveness.
The Word of God
Reading 1JER 7:23-28
Thus says the LORD:
This is what I commanded my people:
Listen to my voice;
then I will be your God and you shall be my people.
Walk in all the ways that I command you,
so that you may prosper.
But they obeyed not, nor did they pay heed.
They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts
and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.
From the day that your fathers left the land of Egypt even to this day,
I have sent you untiringly all my servants the prophets.
Yet they have not obeyed me nor paid heed;
they have stiffened their necks and done worse than their fathers.
When you speak all these words to them,
they will not listen to you either;
when you call to them, they will not answer you.
Say to them:
This is the nation that does not listen
to the voice of the LORD, its God,
or take correction.
Faithfulness has disappeared;
the word itself is banished from their speech.
Responsorial Psalm PS 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
"Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works."
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Gospel LK 11:14-23
Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute,
and when the demon had gone out,
the mute man spoke and the crowds were amazed.
Some of them said, "By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons."
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
"Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself,
how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters."
Conversation requires talking and listening. As I talk to Jesus may I also learn to be still and listen. I picture the gentleness in his eyes and the smile full of love as he gazes on me. I can be totally honest with Jesus as I tell him of my worries and my cares. I will open up my heart to him as I tell him of my fears and my doubts. I will ask him to help me to place myself fully in his care, to abandon myself to him, knowing that he always wants what is best for me.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
Meditation: Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9
3rd Week of Lent
Oh that today you would hear his voice: Do not harden your hearts. (Psalm 95:7-8)
"Is my heart hard or soft? Am I open to the Lord or just going through the motions? I don't know!"
Instead of focusing all of our attention on whether our hearts are hard or not, today's psalmist offers us a different strategy—something designed to help keep our hearts soft. Doesn't that sound more hopeful and more useful than wondering all the time if your heart is hard?
Let us sing joyfully to the Lord (Psalm 95:1). Singing has been a part of worship for thousands of years. There is something about using our voices in this way to honor the Lord that helps us keep our hearts focused. As St. Augustine said, "He who sings prays twice." Don't worry about sounding great. Another psalm even encourages us to "shout joyfully to the Lord" (Psalm 100:1). So don't hold back!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving (Psalm 95:2). Giving thanks to God helps us recognize that the Lord has provided for us. The food we eat, the clothes we wear, and even our friends and family are all gifts from the Lord. The more we remember this, the more inclined we will be to put God in a place of honor, to turn for help, and to listen to his word.
Let us bow down in worship (Psalm 95:6). If Pope Francis were to walk into your home right now, you'd probably stand up, right? Without even thinking about it, you would take a position of respect before him. We can do something very similar by kneeling and bowing before the Lord as we pray. As we use our bodies to express what is in our hearts, we'll find our hearts following suit and rejoicing even more.
Today, try to incorporate these three approaches into your prayer. Choose a hymn or song of worship and sing it out. Spend some time finding things to be thankful for. Kneel down or lift your hands or even dance when you pray. As you do these things, watch the Lord soften your heart and help you hear his voice.
"Lord, I worship you. Keep my heart soft so that I can hear you today."
Jeremiah 7:23-28; Luke 11:14-23
I'm perplexed, haven't been able to gather myself to write to you, because the very first Holy Scripture of the day, was the exact same lines we spoke of last night in our co-worker bible study, words of the prophet Jeremiah, "Walk in all the ways that I command you, so that you may prosper." But they didn't listen. The Psalms we prayed say "If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts", then our Lord Jesus spoke "whoever is not with Me is against Me" and ended today with "whoever does not gather with me scatters". A worker had been telling me he may not be able to make it to bible study, something about his wife's birthday and plans. Every day I kept asking what was going to happen, she went to the hospital one day and the next, he took her out instead of our bible study, and not only did he take her but other friends and family and another worker that was in our bible study. Before we started, I texted him saying "if I get saddened that you choose family over God and I am a mere human, I wonder what Our Father in Heaven thinks? I don't want you to feel bad but I want you to see how we are. It is important to what?? " And he did not respond, and with a long face he greeted me this morning "you made me feel bad", but the point is the words of Christ "you are either with me or against me". You either chose God or not, and took all your loved ones with you. I know many in the world will not agree with me, and I catch alot of flack on the issue, but I'm sure that we put other things before God, I am 100% sure those idols of thousands of years ago are still being worshipped today, in the form of human made images, of beasts and animals and metals and symbols and cult is given to them, to other things and people other than God. What is idolatry? Idolatry etymologically denotes Divine worship given to an image, but its signification has been extended to all Divine worship given to anyone or anything but the true God-NewAdvent.org. Consider it, because we spoke of it last night; a fellow said "I can see that; I used to see if the Dallas Cowboys were playing that Sunday Morning so I would miss church". And that becomes an idol, but I take it he learned it from others, even parents. What do we pass on to the children? Anything but salvation more often than not, anything but God. I know people may not agree with my "in your face" approach, but the truth HURTS. And it has to hurt so you realize. That is why the people of Israel and people of Judah were exiled, because God gave them chance after chance to repent and they wouldn't, so he took them to a place that resembled their spirituality, in the physical realm, barren, and apart from goodness. Do we want a time-out? Do we want to be taken from goodness? Of course not, but do we need it? I hope not. This bible study is an eye opening experience, because the more we go through it, the more the truth is being revealed...JESUS. Jesus embodied the entire Old Testament and made the New. What if I said the mute spirit resembled the mute people of Judah and Israel? Yet He freed them. Yet they spoke and all were amazed. There is no doubt God our Father is amazing and the best Father in the World. Consider where you take your children daily, and feed them daily, TV, Sports, other activities, and on Sunday? Nowhere...that is a reflection of where you are leading them when they die. What we have on our hands is a matter that matters to the one who cares. The people said "ah, you're freeing them with the power of the devil" people speaking of what they are full of, evil because that's all they see, not good, not the good sitting right in front of them. We are beings that can be overcome, but fear not; Gather with our Lord in Heaven, and we will be with Him, not against Him. With Him, all things are possible, with Him is true joy, with Him is an eternity, with Him is true love, with Him is the font of all blessings, with Him is the timeless creation that awaits in Holiness where He wants us to be.......
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