Call to worship

In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls his friend Lazarus back to life after he has been dead for three days. This beautiful story highlights for us the places on our lives where we need to be brought to fuller life.

  • To the point: Martha and Mary express great conviction in Jesus’ healing power: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Their conviction, however, was tied to their human experience of the fragility of sickness and the finality of death. Jesus’ action surmounts human experience and reveals something entirely new: “everyone who lives and believes in (him) will never die.” Belief in Jesus unties us from the limits of human experience and frees us for the eternity of risen Life.
  • Connecting the Gospel (John 11:1-45) to the first reading: Ezekiel describes God’s desire to untie Israel from the grave of their captivity and lead them back to the freedom of their land where they can renew their covenantal relationship with God. In the gospel Jesus commands the bystanders concerning the raised Lazarus to “Untie him and let him go free”.
  • Connecting the Gospel to experience: Our experiences of living can sometimes limit us. For example, when a friend has hurt us, we can become leery of deep relationships. In other words, “once bitten, twice shy.” But if we never allow Jesus to break open the limits of our human experiences, we can never receive the unexpected gifts of freedom and Life he offers.

Centering prayers

The Gospel

(John 11: 1-45)

They said to him, “Sir, come and see.”

And Jesus wept.
He had cried, “Lazarus, come out of there!”
Lazarus did.
“Death, now where is your sting?”
Christ weep with us, and for us,
trapped in burial cloths
with our hands tied,
when we are trafficked,
seized at borders, homeless.
Your passion says,
“Untie them. Let them go free.”

The First Reading

(Ezekiel 37: 12-14)

I will put my spirit in you that you may live.
I have promised, and I will do it, says the Lord.

O Christ, open up our graves.
Breathe Spirit into our dry bones.
You promised that we will come to life in you.

The Second Reading

(Romans 8: 8-11)

You are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.

Spirit of God, what would it have been without you?
Days without sunlight, kites with no wind.
Shine on our flesh and breathe in our souls.
Be the beginning and ending of all that we are and do.
Humbly we ask that you give your life
to our weary, mortal souls.

Copyright © 2023, Anne M. Osdieck

Music for reflection