"I am the resurrection and the life. “ (Jn 11,25)
Jesus uttered these words in reference to the passing of Lazarus of Bethany, whom he raised from the dead on the fourth day.
Lazarus had two sisters, Martha and Mary. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming to their house, she immediately ran to meet him and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would never have died."
"Your brother will rise again," Jesus answered. She replied, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." Then Jesus declared: "I am the resurrection and the life: whoever believes in me, though he should die, will come to life; and whoever is alive and believes in me will never die."
Jesus wants to clarify who he is for us. He possesses the most precious thing that anyone could desire: life; the life that will never die.
If you have read John's Gospel, you must have noticed that Jesus also said: "Just as the Father possesses life in himself, so has he granted it to the Son to have life in himself.” And since Jesus has life, he can give it to others.
Martha too believed in the “resurrection on the last day.”
But with his wonderful affirmation, “I am the resurrection and the life,” Jesus explains that she does not have to wait, hoping for the future resurrection of the dead.
Right now, in the present moment, for all those who believe in him, he is already life -the divine, ineffable, eternal life that will never die.
If Jesus is in those who believe, if he is in you, you will not die. This life in all who believe is a participation in the life of the risen Jesus, and is, therefore, quite different from our ordinary human condition.
This extraordinary life which you, too, already possess, will become fully manifest on the last day. Then, with your whole being, you will take part in the resurrection that is to come.
But it will never again mean that existence is pointless, never will it be absurd anymore. It will no longer be the end of everything. For you, death will not mean that you have truly died. With these words Jesus is certainly not denying that physical death exists, but he is telling us that physical death does not mean the loss of true life. For all of us, death will remain a unique, intense, perhaps even dreaded experience.
And when were you born into this Life that will never die? At the moment of your baptism. Then and there - even though, as a human being you were destined to die - you received immortal life from Christ. At baptism, in fact, you received the Holy Spirit, or he who raised Jesus from the dead.
The condition for receiving this sacrament was the faith which you professed, or which was professed for you by your godparents. In fact, on the occasion of Lazarus' resurrection, Jesus said it clearly to Martha: "Whoever believes in me, though he should die, will come to life”... "Do you believe this?"
In this context "believing" is something very serious and important. It does not mean simply accepting the truths Jesus has proclaimed; it also means adhering to them with our whole being.
In order to have this life, therefore, we must say our "yes" to Christ. This means adhering to his words, to his commands: living according to them. For Jesus promised, "If anyone keeps my word, he will never see death". And the teachings of Christ are summed up in love. You cannot be anything but happy then. You possess life!
During this period in which we are preparing for our Easter celebration, let us help each other to renew our decision and constant effort to die to ourselves so that Christ, the risen Lord, may live in us even now.
Text by: Chiara Lubich "I am the resurrection and the life. “ (Jn 11,25)