11 These things he said; and after that he said to them: Lazarus our friend sleepeth; but I go that I may awake him out of sleep.
Chrysostom: After He had comforted His disciples in one way, He comforts them in another, by telling them that they were not going to Jerusalem, but to Bethany.
Augustine: To our Lord, he was sleeping; to men who could not raise him again, he was dead. Our Lord awoke him with as much ease from his grave, as thou awakest a sleeper from his bed.
12 His disciples therefore said: Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.
Chrysostom: The disciples however wished to prevent Him going to Judea. . . . Sleep is a good sign in sickness. And therefore if he sleep, say they, what need to go and awake him.
13 But Jesus spoke of his death; and they thought that he spoke of the repose of sleep. 14 Then therefore Jesus said to them plainly: Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad, for your sakes, that I was not there, that you may believe: but let us go to him.
Augustine: He had been sent for to restore Lazarus from sickness, not from death. But how could the death be hid from Him, into whose hands the soul of the dead had flown?
16 Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples: Let us also go, that we may die with him.
Chrysostom: He who was now the most weak and unbelieving of all the disciples, afterwards became stronger than any. And he who dared not go to Bethany, afterwards went over the whole earth, in the midst of those who wished his death, with a spirit indomitable.
17 Jesus therefore came, and found that he had been four days already in the grave.
Augustine: There is one day of death which the law of our birth brings upon us. Men transgress the natural law, and this is another day of death. The written law is given to men by the hands of Moses, and that is despised – a third day of death. The Gospel comes, and men transgress it – a fourth day of death. But Christ doth not disdain to awaken even these.
Alcuin: The first sin w as elation of heart, the second assent, the third act, the fourth habit.
Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. IV (London: Rivington, 1845).