5th Sunday of Lent Year A - 2/4/2017 - Gospel: Jn 11:1-45
Die with Jesus
Hearing his friend Lazarus died, Jesus told his disciples that he would like to go to Judea to console his friends Mary and Martha. His disciples reminded him of the persecution that the Jews determined to kill him. The event was still fresh in their mind. They reminded him that:

Rabbi, it is not long since the Jews wanted to stone you: are you going back again?

Thomas was bold when he said to other disciples:

Let us go too, and die with him.

The saying is more like a protestation than a commitment statement. Probably at the time Thomas made the statement that it has never occurred to him that the idea of dying with Jesus was a privilege, not a disgrace. We know that Thomas and other apostles later in life learnt that being able to give sacrifice of their very own lives to Jesus was a special gift and when opportunity was presented they all wanted to shed their blood for Jesus. The apostles were happy to die for their faith as the testimony of their great love for Jesus. All of them died a violent death, except for one who died at a ripe age. We Christians would enjoy life like the rest of mankind but when our time comes for us to depart from this world we would love to die with Jesus regardless of what kind of death it would be. It is our hope and our purpose in life is to live for and to die for Jesus, because to die with and for Jesus means to unite with him in his death and be resurrected with him and live with him in eternity.

No one can escape death. We all die and we would rather die at an old age and with a natural death, not a violent death. Endured a violent death in faith is a cursed for unbelievers but it is a privilege and God's grace for a disciple of Jesus. The universal Church at the same time mourns for the life of a faithful Christian and also praises their heroic act in terms of a martyr. It is the heroic act to show our love for Jesus. It told the opponents of Jesus that their love for Jesus was stronger than death and their sacrifice for the faith would never be forgotten. They may fail many battles in their lives but win the final battle and the final victory is what counts. 

We Christians believe that dying with Jesus is God's gift, God's grace. It is better to die with the Lord rather than to die alone or die without the Lord because to die for and with the Lord is to die in faith and love and hope- faith in Jesus, love for Jesus, for mankind and for the faith and hope to be with Jesus- who once said he is the resurrection and life.

Whoever lives and believes in me will never die

The raising of Lazarus is somehow to be understood that God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are at work in the world and in our lives. Jesus has the power over life and dead and through the Holy Spirit, God the Father will raise Jesus up from death.