Lent V – John 11:41-43

41 They took therefore the stone away. . . .

Origen: The delay in taking away the stone was caused by the sister of the dead, who said, By this time he stinketh, for he hath been dead four days.

41 . . . And Jesus lifting up his eyes said: Father, I give thee thanks that thou hast heard me. 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always; but because of the people who stand about have I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.

Alcuin: Christ, as man, being inferior to the Father, prays to Him for Lazarus’s resurrection; and declares that He is heard.

Origen: He lifted up His eyes; mystically, He lifted up the human mind by prayer to the Father above. We should pray after Christ’s pattern, Lift up the eyes of our heart, and raise them above present things in memory, in thought, in intention. If to them who pray worthily after this fashion is given the promise in Isaiah, Thou shalt cry, and He shall say, Here I am. [Isa 58:9]

Chrysostom: There is no difference of will between Me and Thee. Thou hast heard Me, does not shew any lack of power in Him, or that He is inferior to the Father. It is a phrase that is used between friends and equals. That the prayer is not really necessary for Him, appears from the words that follow, And I knew that Thou heardest Me always: as if He said, I need not prayer to persuade Thee; for Ours is one will. He hides His meaning on account of the weak faith of His hearers. For God regards not so much His own dignity, as our salvation; and therefore seldom speaks loftily of Himself, and, even when He does, speaks in an obscure way; whereas humble expressions abound in His discourses.

Hilary: He did not therefore need to pray: He prayed for our sakes, that we might know Him to be the Son: . . . His prayer did not benefit Himself, but benefited our faith. He did not want help, but we want instruction.

43 When he had said these things, he cried with a loud voice: Lazarus, come forth.

Augustine: He calls him by name, that He may not bring out all the dead.

Theophylact: The voice which roused Lazarus, is the symbol of that trumpet which will sound at the general resurrection. (He spoke loud, to contradict the Gentile fable, that the soul remained in the tomb. The soul of Lazarus is called to as if it were absent, and a loud voice were necessary to summon it.)

Origen: The resurrection of Lazarus is the work of the Father also, in that He heard the prayer of the Son. It is the joint work of Father and Son, one praying, the other hearing; for as the Father raises up the dead and quickens them, even so the Son quickens whom He will.

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. IV (London: Rivington, 1845).

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