Lazarus Saturday – Byzantine Rite – 08 April 2023

Troparion — Tone 1

By raising Lazarus from the dead before Your passion, / You did confirm the universal Resurrection, O Christ God! / Like the children with the palms of victory, / we cry out to You, O Vanquisher of death: / Hosanna in the Highest! / Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord!

Hebrews 12:28-13:8

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.

Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember the prisoners as if chained with them – those who are mistreated – since you yourselves are in the body also. Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

John 11:1-45

Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but 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 sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to Him, “Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going here again?”

Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” These things He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.” Then His disciples said, “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.” However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.

And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.” Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.” So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away.

And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. Now 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 again.”

Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, “The Teacher has come and is calling for you.”

As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.” Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!” And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?”

Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.

And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.” Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him.


The Church of Jesus Christ in the Byzantine Rite traditionally starts Holy Week with the commemoration of the miracle of the calling forth from the tomb of Lazarus, a foreshadowing of the Great Resurrection, the reunion of body, soul, and spirit, and Lazarus received,  that Our Lord and Illuminator promises for those who have followed the Way of the Heart that we have heard and embraced.

As Christians, we should experience a significant measure of comfort and peace because of Our Lord’s promise at the end of the age. An important aspect that is easy to overlook in these challenging times is that Our Lord, Master, and Illuminator, Jesus Christ, through His All-Holy Spirit, is calling us, like His beloved friend Lazarus, to come forth from the tomb, from the embrace of death to the joy of life, always.

So many of us may be asleep in tombs of addiction – alcohol, food that isn’t good for us, or too much of it, too much idleness, too much pursuit of pleasure for pleasure’s sake, poor money management or blaming other’s for the challenges we experience that we are aware are our faults and failings –  Through the gifts of the Eucharist, the All-Holy Spirit, and honest self-reflection, Our Lord illuminates the Way back to life for us to escape the tomb and “Come Forth!”.

So many of us may be asleep in tombs of anger –  bitterness, disappointment, and resentment for actions perceived and quite real that keep our hearts filled with a storm of fury.  Through the gifts of the company of fellow believers, of the gifts of the All-Holy Spirit, and honest self-reflection, we can embrace forgiveness, of ourselves and others, and leave the tomb, heeding the command of our Master to “Come Forth!”.

And still others of us have been buried in tombs of anxiety and trauma –  for some, trauma that is a familiar constant in their lives, and for some, the results of life in the world we live in today.  Today’s commemoration is a reminder that through the love of family, friends, the community of saints, any kindness really, a dedicated embracing of the Way, being spiritually fed, and being bathed in the gifts of the All-Holy Spirit, we can embrace the healing of our hearts and heal the hearts of others,  shedding our grave clothes, heed the words of Our Savior to “Come Forth!”

Esteemed Siblings in Christ, we, all of us, have a glorious day coming in which we, as followers of the Way will be resurrected by Our Savior, Jesus Christ.  But let us not forget that said future stars today, as Our Master and Illuminator call us from death back to life through the agency of the sacraments, the grace of the Father of Lights, and the power of the All-Holy Spirit.

In the name of the Father of Lights, Our Master and Illuminator, Jesus Christ, and the All-Holy Spirit.  AMEN.

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