The Easter Triduum

 

For parishioners not attending Sunday Mass, please use this guide as a source of your prayer and reflection today.

Gospel

Please read the Gospel of today. (John 11: 1-45)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. John.


Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany,
the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil and dried his feet with her hair; it was her brother Lazarus who was ill.

So the sisters sent word to him saying,
“Master, the one you love is ill.”
When Jesus heard this he said,
“This illness is not to end in death,
but is for the glory of God,
that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that he was ill,
he remained for two days in the place where he was. Then after this he said to his disciples,
“Let us go back to Judea.”
The disciples said to him,
“Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you,
and you want to go back there?”
Jesus answered,
“Are there not twelve hours in a day?
If one walks during the day, he does not stumble,
because he sees the light of this world.
But if one walks at night, he stumbles,
because the light is not in him.”
He said this, and then told them,
“Our friend Lazarus is asleep,
but I am going to awaken him.”
So the disciples said to him,
“Master, if he is asleep, he will be saved.”
But Jesus was talking about his death,
while they thought that he meant ordinary sleep.
So then Jesus said to them clearly,
“Lazarus has died. And I am glad for you that I was not there, that you may believe.
Let us go to him.”
So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go to die with him.”

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus
had already been in the tomb for four days.
Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away. And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.”
Martha said to him, “I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“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. Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”

When she had said this,
she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying, “The teacher is here and is asking for you.” As soon as she heard this,
she rose quickly and went to him.
For Jesus had not yet come into the village,
but was still where Martha had met him.
So when the Jews who were with her in the house comforting her saw Mary get up quickly and go out, they followed her,
presuming that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him,
she fell at his feet and said to him,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping,
he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?”
They said to him, “Sir, come and see.”
And Jesus wept.
So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.”
But some of them said,
“Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man have done something so that this man would not have died?”

So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb.
It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.
Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him,
“Lord, by now there will be a stench;
he has been dead for four days.”
Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone.
And Jesus raised his eyes and said,
“Father, I thank you for hearing me.
I know that you always hear me;
but because of the crowd here I have said this,
that they may believe that you sent me.”
And when he had said this,
He cried out in a loud voice,
“Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man came out,
tied hand and foot with burial bands,
and his face was wrapped in a cloth.
So Jesus said to them,
“Untie him and let him go.”

Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what he had done began to believe in him. The Gospel of the Lord.

 

 

Reflection                                (From Fr. Antony Kadavil, adapted from the Vatican News website)

 

Please slowly read the following message as we reflect on the message of the Gospel.

 

The moving story of sorrow and Faith:  John’s Gospel begins with a wedding and closes with a funeral.  There are four primary characters in this story: Jesus, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.  Martha, Mary and Lazarus, siblings, were good friends of Jesus.  John tells us that he “loved” them.  The funeral rituals of Jesus’ day were obviously different from ours, though very like those practiced by Orthodox Jews even today.  When somebody died, there was no embalming. Instead, the body was wrapped in linen and, before sunset on the day of death, was put into the burial vault — a cave carved into limestone rock – often with myrrh, frankincense and perfumes.  (There is some later evidence (early 3rd century) of a rabbinic belief that the soul hovered near the body of the deceased for three days). Then there was intense mourning for seven days followed by a less intense mourning period of twenty-three days.  Lazarus’ sisters had sent word to Jesus that their brother Lazarus was ill and perhaps would soon die.  On receiving the message, Jesus waited two days so that the will of God might be demonstrated, and God be glorified by His Son, through a major miracle.  At last, Jesus went to the house of Lazarus, knowing very well that his friend had died.  On his arrival, Jesus pacified Martha with one of the most treasured of his teachings, which brings great consolation at funeral service, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.  Whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” Jesus offers “eternal life,” which begins with Faith now and lasts forever in its fullness. Then Jesus asked one of the most important questions found in the Bible, “Do you believe this, Martha?”  Martha answered, “I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” Martha pronounced her confession of Faith as a response to Jesus who had revealed himself as the Resurrection and the Life.  Her Faith did not depend upon seeing her brother raised from the dead.  Proof begets knowledge and confirms Faith; Faith does not rest on proof but precedes it.  As John writes this story for his persecuted early Christian community, Martha represents that grieving community in asking the perennial question: “If Jesus gave us eternal life, why are believers still dying?”  John’s story offers a challenging response and offers us all those words that bring such consolation at funeral services: “I am the Resurrection and the Life; whoever believes in me even if he [or she] dies will live, and everyone who believes in me will never die.”

 

 The supporting community and the reassuring Jesus. Martha returned home and told her sister Mary that Jesus wanted to talk with her.  Mary went immediately, surrounded by grieving friends, to find Jesus.  Then comes that classic line, the shortest verse in the Bible.  “Jesus wept.”  The Greek translation literally means that Jesus “burst into tears.”  This showed that he was not only the Son of God, but also the Son of Man, fully human, sharing our grief and our sorrow and comforting us with his declaration, “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.”  Mary’s friends who grieved with her are the model of a supporting Church community.  There is something therapeutic about having friends around us when we are grief-stricken.  Hence, the Church must be a community offering compassion and consolation to one another.  Often, in our busy and active culture, we don’t have time to live deeply with our feelings and to share deep love or deep sorrow.

 

The touch of human sentiments: While the miracle of raising Lazarus from grave shows Jesus’ Divine power over death itself it also shows him as a wonderfully sensitive human being.  His love for Lazarus and his sisters is palpable.  Martha’s and Mary’s complaint that Jesus’ presence would have averted Lazarus’ death shows us how real their friendship was.  So do Jesus’ tears.  The story also represents the best of that special human quality in Jesus of openly expressing real feelings.  This interpretive description of Jesus’ greatest miracle is also John’s reflection on the significance of the Resurrection.

 

Life Message: “Roll away the stone, unbind him and let him go.”  There are so many dark areas in our private lives.  We often bind ourselves with chains of addiction to alcohol, drugs, sexual deviations, slander, gossip, envy, prejudices, hatred, and uncontrollable anger, and we bury ourselves in the tombs of despair. Sometimes we are buried in the tomb of selfishness, filled with negative feelings such as worry, fear, resentment, hatred, and guilt.   Jesus asks us today to seek his help and that of the community around us to loosen those chains and come out of tombs of our own creation.  Is there an area of life where hope is gone?  Why not invite Jesus to visit this area?  If we want Jesus to visit our dark dungeons of sin, despair and unhappiness, let us ask Jesus during this Holy Mass to bring the light and the power of the Holy Spirit into our private lives and liberate us from our tombs.  Are there times when we refuse to let God enter into our wallets, fearing that faithful tithing will endanger our savings?    When we receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Jesus will call our name and command, “Come out!” Jesus calls each of us by name to come out of our graves and to help others to do the same.  “Lazarus, come out!   Mary, come out!   Jim and Joe, Kathy and Lisa, come out!” This is particularly Good News to someone who is addicted, whether to a chemical substance or to unsavory habits. “Lazarus, come out!” This is Good News for the person who has lived an empty, meaningless life, “Lazarus, come out!” This is Good News for the tired, the hurting, the person at his or her wit’s end. “Lazarus, come out!” This is good news for all of us: “Lazarus, come out!” This can be the beginning of a new life.

(Fr. Antony Kadavil, chaplain, Little Sisters of the Poor, Mobile, AL, U.S.A.)

 

 

 

PRAYER

  • For everyone affected by the novel coronavirus and other serious illnesses, may we grow in our awareness of our frailty in living together and extend consolation through prayer and concern, we pray to the Lord.
  • For those who are gravely ill due to the coronavirus and other serious illnesses, may Jesus the good shepherd be their healer and their source of comfort and strength, we pray to the Lord.
  • For doctors, nurses, caregivers and family members who care for the sick with gentleness and compassion, may they find strength in their works of mercy, we pray to the Lord.

 

Prayer in the Time of the Coronavirus

Most Reverend José H. Gomez Archbishop of Los Angeles

 

Holy Virgin of Guadalupe,

Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.

We fly to you today as your beloved children.

We ask you to intercede for us with your Son, as you did at the wedding in Cana.

Pray for us, loving Mother, and gain for our nation and world,

and for all our families and loved ones, the protection of your holy angels,

that we may be spared the worst of this illness.

For those already afflicted,

we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.

Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,

wipe away their tears and help them to trust.

In this time of trial and testing, teach all of us in the Church

to love one another and to be patient and kind.

Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.

We come to you with confidence,

knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,

health of the sick and cause of our joy.

Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,

keep us in the embrace of your arms,

help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.

Reflection

(From the Sisters of Providence of St.Mary of the Woods)

Please slowly read the following message as we reflect on the message of the Gospel.

Jesus curing the blind man appears simple enough at first. Jesus sees him and cures him. But soon the man is brought before the Pharisees who are more interested in the rules than cures.

Some in the world today still believe that afflictions such as blindness are the result of the sins of the afflicted. And the Pharisees believe that Jesus is a sinner since he cured the blind man on the Sabbath. Everyone rushes to lay blame. How blind! How blind are we?

It is the formerly blind man who truly sees. When Jesus reveals himself, the man shows his faith and worships Jesus. Are we like this man? Or are we like the Pharisees who remain blind?

We have reached Laetare Sunday, that point when we are more than halfway to Easter. A time when we consider if our Lenten practices are leading us to a closer relationship with God, leading us to a deeper faith. Are we seeing Christ, the Light of the World, as the formerly blind man saw him, as our light? Is there something in my life to which I remain blind? Decide what you can change to address it this week.

PRAYER

  • For all who remain blind to Jesus’ saving message, that we open our hearts to faith in God alone, we pray to the Lord.
  • For all affected by virus and illness, for their health and protection, for their families and all doctors, nurses and caregivers, we pray to the Lord.
  • That we spend these days in hope for God’s abundant protection, and dismiss from our minds anxiety or depression, may this Lent be a true time of personal renewal, we pray to the Lord.

Prayer in the Time of the Coronavirus
Most Reverend José H. Gomez Archbishop of Los Angeles

Holy Virgin of Guadalupe, Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.

We fly to you today as your beloved children.

We ask you to intercede for us with your Son, as you did at the wedding in Cana.

Pray for us, loving Mother, and gain for our nation and world,

and for all our families and loved ones, the protection of your holy angels,

that we may be spared the worst of this illness.

For those already afflicted,

we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.

Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,

wipe away their tears and help them to trust.

In this time of trial and testing, teach all of us in the Church

to love one another and to be patient and kind.

Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.

We come to you with confidence,

knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,

health of the sick and cause of our joy.

Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,

keep us in the embrace of your arms,

help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.