This week, we have the chance to reflect upon a new aspect of the virtue of faith; hope in eternal life. It is faith that helps us to reach eternal life. It is faith that helps us believe that we have the hope of a rising from the dead. It is faith, along with the aspects that we have discussed over the past two weeks, that lead us to a point of knowing and being convinced that we will rise from the dead.
This weekend's gospel is one of the best at showing us the role of faith, the hope of eternal life, and the resurrection that is being offered to us by Jesus through the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Our Lord could have chosen to prevent Lazarus from dying but He does not because He wants to prove that He has even greater power than keeping someone from dying. Everyone in this gospel story knows that Jesus can save people from illnesses and prevent certain calamities in their lives and so they want Jesus to heal Lazarus before he dies. Jesus though wants to prove something far greater, that as God, He has power over life and death.
This power is seen in the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Jesus waits four days before going to Lazarus. By this point, everybody would have known that Lazarus was dead. So, Jesus, going to the tomb after four days, shows that He can do something far greater than simply preventing an illness, a calamity, or death. By raising Lazarus, He shows that He has the power to raise someone from the dead.
It is this faith in Jesus, faith in God, that allows Lazarus to be raised.
It is not a power to raise Lazarus from the dead that allows for Lazarus to be risen. There also needs to be faith in Jesus. It is this faith in Jesus, faith in God, that allows Lazarus to be raised. We know, from the story, that Lazarus was a good friend of Jesus and that he believed that Jesus was Lord and to God. This belief, this faith, allows Lazarus to be raised from the dead. Lazarus knows that Jesus, because he is God, can save him from eternal death and so it is faith in Jesus that allows Lazarus to rise from the dead along with Jesus’ power to raise Lazarus.
It is this same faith in Jesus that gives us the hope of eternal life. We believe that God can save us from eternal death. We believe that Jesus, through our relationship with him and through the forgiveness of our sins, can save us and raise us. This belief should motivate us and motivate our relationship with God. It is this hope that should influence the way we live and the way we act.
So, this week’s journey with Jesus to Calvary is one that should help us to continue to deepen the relationship we have with Our Lord and to continue to seek a conversion of our hearts from sin so that we might have a deeper and more personal appreciation and hope in the resurrection from the dead that God is offering to us.
When you are praying this week, ask God to increase your hope and believe in the resurrection of the dead. Ask God to help you appreciate in a deeper and more personal way what the resurrection means for you. This gift of faith in the resurrection will allow us to appreciate, on Good Friday, the death of Our Lord and appreciate, in an even better way, His resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday.
God has the power to raise us from the dead, just as He had the power to raise Lazarus from the dead. Like Lazarus we believe that He can do this for us. Deepen your faith in the resurrection from the dead.