Raising Lazarus

Lazarus Saturday has a very special place in the liturgical calendar. It is not included in the forty days of  Lenten penitence; it is not included in the harrowing days of Holy Week – which are counted from the Monday to the Friday. Together with Palm Sunday, it forms a short and joyous prelude to the days of grief which follow. A topographical link unites it to Palm Sunday: Bethany is the place of Lazarus’s resurrection, and it is also the point of departure for Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem. Lazarus’s resurrection, which this Saturday commemorates, is an even that, as we shall see, carries a very deep meaning. It is mysteriously linked to the resurrection of Christ himself; in relation to that event, it is like prophecy in action. One could say that Lazarus raised from the dead is shown to us, at the threshold of the Easter feasts, as the precursor of Jesus Christ triumphant over death, in the same way that, on the threshold of Epiphany, John when he baptised was the precursor of the Messiah who was about to be revealed.

Father Lev Gillet, The Year of Grace of the Lord135.

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