HE WHOM YOU LOVE IS ILL
“Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’ But when Jesus heard it he said, ‘This illness is not unto death; it is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by means of it.’ Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that he was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, ‘Let us go into Judea again.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Rabbi, the Jews were but now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?’” (Jn 11: 1-8)
On this final, sixth week of Lent, (the “forty” days of which do not include Great Week), our focus begins to transition from our own journey and our Lenten, penitential “mourning” over our sins, to the Lord’s final journey to His cross. This entire week the texts of the Lenten Triodion mention the events leading up to the raising from the dead of Lazarus, which we will celebrate this upcoming Saturday, preceding Palm Sunday.
So let me join in, and follow this “story,” in the Lord’s final footsteps before His passion. Today let me be there, even as I go about my daily business, and anticipate in my heart the return of Christ to Judea, despite the danger of doing so. By Saturday of this week He will be raising one of us, whom He loved, from the dead; and then on Sunday He will be entering Jerusalem, where He will soon be arrested, and tried, and put to death, in order to overcome that common illness of all of us, our death, in Himself. Let me follow where our Lord Jesus Christ is leading us these final days of Lent, that I, whom He loves, may be raised to new life, in Him. “Remember me, Lord, when You come into Your kingdom.”