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The raising of Lazarus"  Mosaic (6th) Sant Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, Italy

“With the holy man wilt Thou be holy… and with the perverse wilt Thou be Perverse (cf. Ps 17)” or “Tell me who’s your friend so I may see who you are,” says a proverb.

The Lord called Lazarus, His friend. The kind of friends you have is of great matter.

Avoid evil. If you see that your friend leads your soul to perdition, end that relationship. Do not partake with the man that speaks evil, with him that judges or slanders. Make friendship with the righteous, the humble, the wise and the good. Thus was Lazarus, a friend of Christ. May your friend be a help to your salvation! “

(From father Valentine Mordashov, the elder of Pskov)

Christ loves Lazarus, Martha and Mary. Yet in His divine wisdom that transcends ages, He chooses to come a bit late to his friend’s bed where he’s lying seriously ill. He waits for the disease to follow its course, although He hurts at the pain of Lazarus death. He feels his friend pain and sees his soul ascending to heaven. Jesus knows everything about Lazarus as He knows about us… every word whispered, every thought, every tear, the moment of our death and our whole life.

Then going to the tomb, Jesus weeps before calling the spirit of the one dead for four days. The eyes of God shed tears for the human death. Through Him, the pain of all those dead throughout history is heard. In front of Lazarus tomb, Christ feels the universal death, the earth that has became a huge graveyard, a field flooded with tears, a tomb of life. It is from this pain that flow the tears from the eyes of the Lover of mankind. It is the pain of Him who loves infinitely, Him who was abandoned by the man lost in sin. It is the lamentation of the Father Who sees His only Son, begotten to be immoral but Who returns to the grave. Because of human perdition, the whole universe became a great sarcophagus. But the King of life, eternally in love with the human soul will do everything to turn man from his own destruction.

Then, through tears, Christ utters the words that abolish death: Lazarus, come out! It is the calling of man from death, of all mankind from the womb of nothingness; from the tomb of Lazarus who is born again shaking off the miasma of death and coming to light.

The raising of Lazarus from the dead is the ultimate prophecy of the resurrection of the Son of God and the tomb becomes a womb for eternal life.

The tomb of Christ is the ontological matrix of the new aeon of a humanity deified by grace. And the resurrection of Lazarus is the practice, the training to enter immortality, the beginning of the Kingdom of God.



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April 2013