The resurrection and the life

Fifth Sunday of Lent Year A

This Sunday, we are asked to reflect on three important issues: life, death, and resurrection. The reading is from St John, and it gives an account of when Jesus brought Lazarus back to life.

We may find it strange that Jesus did not immediately go to Lazarus and his sisters. Instead, Jesus sets off on the journey, two days later, and Lazarus had died by the time he arrived. When Jesus sees Martha, he tells her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live.” 

Why didn’t Jesus, go to Lazarus house, immediately? Jesus wanted God to be glorified. He wanted to show God’s authority on death, he wanted to show who he was. 

No-one likes to think about death. The death of a relative or friend brings sadness and suffering. However, this miracle brings us hope. Lazarus was brought back from death, a short time before Jesus faces the passion and death on the cross. As we know and believe, Jesus rose from the dead. This is the reason for our hope, that despite the difficulties and suffering we face, there is always hope of a new life. 

Jesus does not only state that he is the resurrection, but that he is also life. Today’s reading is from John’s Gospel, chapter 11. In chapter 10, Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (Jn 10,10) Jesus wants us to enjoy not only eternal life in heaven, but also our life on earth. We gain joy in this life, when we do things to glorify God. Mary and Martha did not understand why Jesus did not go to their house, at once. This teaches us perseverance in prayer. We should never stop praying. God always hears our prayers; however, he does not always give us what we ask for. If Jesus had gone immediately, most probably Lazarus would have been alive, and he would have healed him. However, Jesus did something greater, he brought him back to life. This shows us the power of God, which is greater than death, which is greater than any suffering or challenge we may face. The power of God, at the end, will give us hope, that after this life, we are to enjoy eternal life with him.

A reading from the Gospel of John (Jn 11, 1-45) 

Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil and dried his feet with her hair; it was her brother Lazarus who was ill. So the sisters sent word to him saying, “Master, the one you love is ill.” When Jesus heard this he said, “This illness is not to end in death, but is 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 ill, he remained for two days in the place where he was. Then after this he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, and you want to go back there?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in a day? If one walks during the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks at night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”  He said this, and then told them, “Our friend Lazarus is asleep, but I am going to awaken him.” So the disciples said to him, “Master, if he is asleep, he will be saved.” But Jesus was talking about his death, while they thought that he meant ordinary sleep. So then Jesus said to them clearly, “Lazarus has died. And I am glad for you that I was not there, that you may believe.  Let us go to him.” So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go to die with him.”

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away. And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. 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.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”

When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying, “The teacher is here and is asking for you.” As soon as she heard this, she rose quickly and went to him. For Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still where Martha had met him. So when the Jews who were with her in the house comforting her saw Mary get up quickly and go out, they followed her, presuming that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Sir, come and see.” And Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.” But some of them said, “Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man have done something so that this man would not have died?”

So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay across it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him, “Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus raised his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me.” And when he had said this, He cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.”

Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him.

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ

  1. Read the Gospel story so that you are familiar with it.
  2. Reflect on what the Gospel story is saying to you. Which points would you highlight and why?
  3. Death, the loss of a loved one, brings with it sorrow and suffering. Apart from the death of loved ones, we also encounter other major difficulties and challenges. In moments like these, does your faith give you the strength and courage you need to face these difficult moments? 
  4. Lazarus was bound, wrapped up in a cloth. He was not free to move and do what he wanted. Is there something which is holding you captive, and not allowing you the freedom to live as you wish? Pray, so that in the same way, Jesus freed Lazarus, he frees you too. If you need, go to confession, so that Jesus gives you the freedom, which only he can give.
  5. Do you believe that after this life, we will rise to a new eternal one? How does this effect the way you live?
  6. Together with your family find the right time to read this Gospel. The environment helps, so before you start, prepare;
    i. The Bible reading from  St John (John 11, 1-45)
    ii. Crucifix
    iii. Cover the table with a violet cloth
    iv. A computer/laptop with the reading and clips
  7. Go through the steps with your children (2 age groups are being suggested).
  8. Feel free to adapt to your situation
  9. Be creative 😊 
  10. Go to the Prayer Corner section to continue praying as a family. 


Today we are going to hear about one of Jesus’ miracles. Jesus did this miracle to show us how powerful and special he is. Let us listen to today’s reading.

  • Jesus has great power, he brought Lazarus back from the dead
  • Flower bulb or seeds
  • Soil or compost
  • Pot

Do you ever cry?

You might cry when you fall and hurt yourselves, you might cry when something bad happens to you, you cry when mummy or daddy do not give you what you ask for, or when you fight with your friends. We all cry at one time or another, not only children cry, but grownups, cry as well. 

In today’s Gospel, we hear that even Jesus cried! So there is nothing wrong when we cry because we are unhappy. Jesus cried, because his friends, Mary and Martha were sad, he cried because his friend, Lazarus was dead. Together with Mary and Martha, he went to the place where Lazarus was buried. 

What did he ask the people to do when they arrived? (to remove the stone from in front of the tomb. In those days, the tomb was a cave or a hole in the rocks, this hole was covered by a big heavy stone)

What did Jesus do when the stone was removed? (he prayed)

Then, because Jesus has great special power, in a loud voice, he ordered Lazarus to come out of the tomb.

Mary and Martha were overjoyed! Now they were crying with joy not with sorrow!

When Jesus, had arrived at Mary and Martha’s house, he had said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” This means that one day, we will live for ever with Jesus, in heaven. It also means that Jesus wants us to be happy, even now. We have often said, that to be happy, we are to do as Jesus wishes.

Today, we have learnt that there are times when we are sad. It could be that we also cry when we are sad. But we should not remain sad for a long time. Mary and Martha were sad, but then, Jesus made them happy. Jesus makes us happy too. We do not always understand the things that happen, however we are to trust Jesus, because Jesus only gives us what is good.

So that we remember what we learnt today, you have a flower bulb or seeds. With your parents’ help you are going to sow/plant the seeds or bulb. When you look at them, they are not beautiful to look at! They look dead! However, your parents will help you and will teach you how to care for them; where to put the pot and when to water it. In a few weeks, the seeds/bulb will change and grow, and you will have flowers! The seeds/bulb changed, and they became much more beautiful than they were. This reminds us of our own life. When we do what Jesus wishes, we too will become beautiful. 
Whilst preparing the pot, listen to the story of Lazarus, in this song, so that you remember that we are to follow Jesus, and that he always listens to our prayers.

Sign of the Cross 

Thank you, Jesus for not wanting us to be sad. Thank you for helping us to be happy. Help us to remember to ask you for help when we need, and to believe that you always hear our prayers. Amen.Dear Jesus, thank you for healing us and for using our failures in our favour. Help us open our eyes; both physically and mentally, so that we can recognise your love and your work in our lives and in the lives of others. Thank you for your unconditional love! Help us be more like the blind man who began to see!


In today’s Gospel, Jesus makes a miracle, to show his supremacy and to teach us that after this life, we will live with him, for ever, in heaven. He teaches us that we are to live our life on earth, as best as we can.

  • Jesus has authority over death
  • Flower bulb or seeds
  • Soil or compost
  • Pot

Today’s story is about three siblings, Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Lazarus is very sick, and Mary and Martha believed that Jesus could heal him, so they send a message to Jesus to go to their house. They knew that Jesus had healed many people, and they believed that he could heal Lazarus too. However, when Jesus received the message, instead of leaving everything and going immediately to Bethany, he waited for two days, before starting the journey. This delay meant that Lazarus had died by the time Jesus arrived. Martha and her sister were very sad, and told Jesus, that had he arrived earlier, their brother would not have died. However, Jesus did an extraordinary, unbelievable thing. Lazarus, who had been dead for four days, was brought back to life!

There were many people visiting Mary and Martha, and they witnessed this great miracle. Many of these believed that Jesus was the Messiah. However, others were afraid that Jesus was a threat to them and to their authority.

To which group do we belong? Do we believe that Jesus is the son of God and that he has power over death? Or we do not believe this? We see Jesus as someone who interferes with the way we live. To believe does not mean that we understand all that we hear, all that we read and all that we see. To believe means that we have faith in Jesus and his teachings, even when we do not understand. 

Jesus tells Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life.” This means that after this life, we will have eternal life, with Jesus in heaven. However, it also means that Jesus can also help us now, to change, and to have joy in our hearts. What are the things which make you unhappy? (arguments with your parents, siblings or friends, we get angry for nothing, we lie, we do not share with others, we are only interested in what we can gain from others, rather in how we can help them)

When we are sad, or when we do something which is bad, we are not happy; and if we had to draw ourselves, we would not make ourself look beautiful. In today’s activity, you have a flower bulb or seeds. With your parents’ help or someone who is older than you, you are going to sow/plant the seeds or bulb. When you look at them, they are not beautiful to look at! They look dead! However, your parents will help you and will teach you how to care for them; where to put the pot and when to water it. In a few weeks, the seeds/bulb will change and grow, and you will have flowers! The seeds/bulb changed, and they became much more beautiful than they were. This reminds us of our own life. When we do what Jesus wishes, when we do what is good, we too will become beautiful like the flowers you planted. After you have finished the activity, listen to, Yet shall he live, so that you remember what Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life”.

Sign of the Cross

During Sunday Mass, we pray the Nicene Creed, and we list all that we believe in, including the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. 

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Sunday Scripture readings. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the upcoming Sunday's Scripture readings, helping you to connect the Scripture to daily life in a meaningful way.