Gospel: John 11:1-45 I am the resurrection and the life
In Jesus’ conversation with Martha, Martha tells him that she believes in resurrection. Her response shows great faith, affirming her belief in eternal life and Jesus’ connection to this promised salvation. We too make this profession of faith every Sunday when we pray the Nicene Creed.
Children read aloud different parts of the NiceneCreed. Is this prayer familiar to you? When have you heard this prayer prayed? (at Mass) This prayer is called the Nicene Creed. We pray it at each Sunday Mass. It’s a summary of what we believe as Christians. When we pray the Creed with the Church community, we are affirming our commitment to the beliefs stated in it.
Highlight the parts of the Creed that present what we believe about Jesus’ own death and what happens after death. Children try to identify the following phrases: “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end,” “I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come,” and “For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate . . .”
In today’s Gospel, we will hear what Jesus taught about Resurrection, and we will hear about when Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead.
What belief did you hear about in today’s Gospel that is also found in the Nicene Creed? (Resurrection) What do you think it means to say that Jesus is the Resurrection and the life?
When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he showed his power over death. We believe that by Jesus’ death and Resurrection, he conquered death and won eternal life for us. Our faith tells us that those who are like Martha and Mary—people who believe that Jesus is the Resurrection and the life—will find eternal life.
Pray together that we will share Martha and Mary’s faith that Jesus is the Resurrection and the life.
Andrew Olive, Headteacher
Closing prayer: Let us prayer together the Nicene Creed.
See You on Sunday at Mass. Fr Marcin and Andrew Olive, Headteacher
(Father Marcin and I have agreed that it would be good if the parish knew a little more about what is happening in school and the school community had the benefit of Fr Marcin’s thoughts on the week’s Gospel:)
Over the past two weeks we have seen embodied in the gospel Jesus as the Living Water, and Jesus as the Light of the World. Here we can reflect on Jesus as the Resurrection and the Life. In these three weeks of Lent we see him bringing faith, light and, now, life.
More is known about Lazarus than the blind man we heard of last week. Most likely from an influential family, he and his sisters, Martha and Mary, were friends of Jesus, whom they welcomed to their home in the village of Bethany, a little under two miles from Jerusalem. There Jesus often stayed when visiting Jerusalem. Jesus was not there, however, when Lazarus died some days before the Passover. Once he heard the news of Lazarus’ death he went to be with his friends. John’s account describes a typical Jewish burial.
Wrapped in linen strips, Lazarus’ body was buried the same day he died; his tomb a cave, sealed with a stone, outside the village. His sisters, Martha and Mary then began the customary 30 days of mourning at home, receiving the condolences of their friends and neighbours. By the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus had been dead for four days
Setting the Scene
Ask the children to think about how, in nature, things appear to die but, then, they return to a new life again. Say how daffodils die away but the bulb remains. If you plant the bulb, it will come to life again next Spring. Some of our trees appear to die in the autumn; but they, too, come back to life in the springtime. Fruit trees give us their fruit year after year. We can rely on that happening. It is the same for other things. Talk to them about tadpoles that die to their old life and come to a new life as frogs, and caterpillars that come to new life as butterflies.
We Say Sorry
Lord, by water and the Spirit you give us new life,
All: Lord, have mercy.
Christ, by the cross you brought pardon and hope,
All: Christ, have mercy.
Lord, by your death you brought peace and forgiveness,
All: Lord, have mercy.
We Pray (1)
God, help us to listen to your word so that we may see your glory. Amen.
In today’s Gospel, Martha and Mary send an urgent message to Jesus saying that their brother Lazarus was very ill and they were afraid he would die.
They wanted Jesus to come and cure him. At that time, if you wanted to send someone a message, you had to send a person to deliver it. There were no cars or trains; there was no e-mail, no mobile phones – not even ordinary telephones or post! So sending a message took time. By the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus had been dead for four days. In those days, when a person died, his body was wrapped with cloths. Jesus was very sad that Lazarus had died and he cried. Martha and Mary believed that Jesus was the Messiah, though, and they believed that he could bring their brother back from the dead.
Gospel : John 9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38
Reflecting on the Reading with Children
Invite the children to say what they heard in the story.
Ask how do they think Martha felt when she saw Jesus coming. What did she say? How did Jesus answer her? Remind them of the conversation between Jesus and Martha and between Jesus and Mary.
Talk about how Jesus was filled with pity, emphasise the compassion of Jesus.
Ask them what the story might help us to understand about Jesus. Talk a little about the Christian belief in life after death, telling them that even after we die we will continue to live with God in a new and different way. We don’t understand much about this new life but we know we will be happy because we will live with God.
You might produce cards with the words ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life’. On the reverse of the card ask them to write or draw something they will do this week that is compassionate and caring, just as Jesus showed compassion to Martha, Mary and Lazarus.
In our creed, we say what we believe. Invite the children to think about what they are saying when they say the creed.
Ask this series of questions and invite the children to reply, “I do”:
• Do you believe that God in God, our loving Father?
• Do you believe that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life?
• Do you believe in the Holy Spirit who helps us to understand what God is like?
• Do you believe in our holy, catholic church, where we come to learn about God?
We Pray (2)
Again, try to relate the bidding prayers to the reading by saying, ‘You gave new life to Lazarus, and so we pray…’
We pray for Christian leaders, that they may always respond to people’s needs. Lord in your mercy,
All: Hear our prayer.
We pray for the world, that we think more about it and all its resources, we pray for help to take better care of it. Lord in your mercy
All: Hear our prayer.
We pray for all those who are sick and for all those who have died, we pray that they will find their home with you. Lord in your mercy
All: Hear our prayer.
We pray for our friends and families, that they may grow closer to Jesus in this season of Lent. Lord in your mercy,
All: Hear our prayer.
Leader: God, we know you hear our prayers. Help us to hear your voice in our lives and to trust in your salvation. We make all our prayers through Christ our Lord.
Have a look at the Lent resources on the website – https://rcdow.org.uk/faith/catechesis/childrens-liturgy/)
There was a man named Lazarus who lived in the village of Bethany with the two sisters, Mary and Martha, and he was ill. It was the same Mary, the sister of the sick man Lazarus, who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair. The sisters sent this message to Jesus, ‘Lord, the man you love is ill.’ On receiving the message, Jesus said, ‘This sickness will end not in death but in God’s glory, and through it the Son of God will be glorified.’
Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, yet when he heard that Lazarus was ill he stayed where he was for two more days before saying to the disciples, ‘Let us go to Judaea.’ The disciples said, ‘Rabbi, it is not long since the Jews wanted to stone you; are you going back again?’ Jesus replied:
‘Are there not twelve hours in the day? A man can walk in the daytime without stumbling because he has the light of this world to see by; but if he walks at night he stumbles, because there is no light to guide him.’
He said that and then added, ‘Our friend Lazarus is resting, I am going to wake him.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Lord, if he is able to rest he is sure to get better.’ The phrase Jesus used referred to the death of Lazarus, but they thought that by ‘rest’ he meant ‘sleep’, so Jesus put it plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead; and for your sake I am glad I was not there because now you will believe. But let us go to him.’ Then Thomas – known as the Twin – said to the other disciples, ‘Let us go too, and die with him.’
On arriving, Jesus found that Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days already. Bethany is only about two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to sympathise with them over their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus had come she went to meet him. Mary remained sitting in the house. Martha said to Jesus, ‘If you had been here, my brother would not have died, but I know that, even now, whatever you ask of God, he will grant you.’ ‘Your brother’ said Jesus to her ‘will rise again.’ Martha said, ‘I know he will rise again at the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said:
‘I am the resurrection and the life. If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’
‘Yes, Lord,’ she said ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world.’
When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in a low voice, ‘The Master is here and wants to see you.’ Hearing this, Mary got up quickly and went to him. Jesus had not yet come into the village; he was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who were in the house sympathising with Mary saw her get up so quickly and go out, they followed her, thinking that she was going to the tomb to weep there.
Mary went to Jesus, and as soon as she saw him she threw herself at his feet, saying, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ At the sight of her tears, and those of the Jews who followed her, Jesus said in great distress, with a sigh that came straight from the heart, ‘Where have you put him?’ They said, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept; and the Jews said, ‘See how much he loved him!’ But there were some who remarked, ‘He opened the eyes of the blind man, could he not have prevented this man’s death?’ Still sighing, Jesus reached the tomb: it was a cave with a stone to close the opening. Jesus said, ‘Take the stone away.’ Martha said to him, ‘Lord, by now he will smell; this is the fourth day.’ Jesus replied, ‘Have I not told you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?’ So they took away the stone. Then Jesus lifted up his eyes and said:
‘Father, I thank you for hearing my prayer. I knew indeed that you always hear me, but I speak for the sake of all these who stand round me, so that they may believe it was you who sent me.’ When he had said this, he cried in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, here! Come out!’ The dead man came out, his feet and hands bound with bands of stuff and a cloth round his face. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, let him go free.’ Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what he did believed in him.
Jesus’ promise of eternal life is a central element of our Catholic faith. Even though Easter is still two weeks away, our Gospel today invites us to acknowledge Jesus’ power over death, evidenced in the raising of Lazarus, and to anticipate Jesus’ conquering of death once and for all in his death and Resurrection. We sometimes use examples from nature to help describe this mystery of our faith. Jesus himself talked about the seed that dies when planted in the ground in order to produce new life (John 12:24). Using that image and others, we find hope and confidence in Jesus, the Resurrection and the life.
Gather your family today and read today’s Gospel in its shorter form, John 11:3-7,17,20-27,33b-45. Write Jesus’ promise from today’s Gospel (“I am the resurrection and the life.”) on a large sheet of white paper. As your family talks about what Jesus means by this promise, decorate Jesus’ words with symbols that will remind you of his promise of eternal life. Display this reminder of Jesus’ promise in a prominent place in your home and keep it there until Easter. Pray that you will always remain confident in Jesus’ promise of eternal life. Conclude by praying together the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene Creed.