Too Tired? Wake Up!
Opening Question: How many of you have been really tired, too tired to even have fun?
First Reading: Ezekiel 37:12-14
Sitting in the same car seat, Jonathan traveled with his father all night. He tried to get sleep, but the excitement of the trip, the car noises, and the passing lights kept him up. Now he could see the light of dawn over the mountains. And he could hardly keep his eyes open.
His father turned off the freeway and into a restaurant parking lot. "Come on, Jonathan," his father said. "Let's get breakfast."
"I can't, Dad," Jonathan responded. "I'm too tired."
Ezekiel wrote to the people of Israel, people who felt too tired to care. The people were tired of war, of going from one place to another just to find food, of fighting each other for a place of peace. Ezekiel tried to wake the people up, to tell them good news was on the way.
Bridging Question: How do you feel on a sunny, warm day? What do you want to do on a sunny, warm day? How do you feel on a cloudy, cold day? What do you want to do on a cloudy day?
Gospel: John 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33b-45
The sisters Mary and Martha sent Jesus a message: "Lord, your close friend Lazarus is ill." When Jesus heard this, he replied, "The illness of Lazarus isn't the end of him. It's really for the glory of God! And, through this illness, God's Son will receive glory." Now, Jesus really liked Martha, her sister Mary, and brother Lazarus. But, when he heard Lazarus was ill, Jesus stayed where he was. Two days later, Jesus finally told his followers, "Let's go to Judea." When Jesus arrived at Bethany in Judea, Martha and Mary's hometown, he found out Lazarus was dead. He had been buried four days before.
Martha heard Jesus had come to town. So, she went to met him, while her sister Mary remained at home. "Lord!" Martha exclaimed. "If you would have been here earlier, my brother wouldn't have died! But even now I know whatever you ask God to do, he will do it!"
"Your brother will rise again," Jesus replied.
"Yes," Martha said. "I know he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day."
"I am the resurrection and the life!" Jesus exclaimed. "The person who trusts me will live with God, even though his body dies. Everyone who trusts me and lives with God will never really die. Do you believe this?"
"Yes, Lord," Martha answered. "I really believe you are the Messiah, the Son of God! God sent you into the world for us."
Jesus was deeply touched. "Where did you bury Lazarus?" he asked the people around him.
"Come and see, Lord," they replied. At this, Jesus cried. "See how much Lazarus meant to Jesus," they whispered to each other. But others grumbled, "Jesus cured the blind man in Jerusalem. Why couldn't he keep Lazarus from dying?"
The tomb where Lazarus was buried was a cave with a large stone over the entrance. When Jesus came to the tomb, he again was deeply touched. "Take the stone away!" Jesus commanded.
"But, Lord!" Martha objected. "We buried him four days ago. He will have the stench of death!"
"Didn't I tell you if you trusted me you would see the glory of God?" Jesus replied. So, they took the stone away from the tomb entrance. Jesus looked up and prayed, "Father, thank you for listening to me, as you always do. I say this prayer, so the people here might believe you sent me." Then, Jesus screamed, "Lazarus! Come out here!" Lazarus came out of the tomb with his hands and feet tied in burial bandages, and with his face covered with a cloth shroud. "Untie him," Jesus commanded.
Many of the people who came to Mary's house saw what Jesus did. And they put their trust in him.
Jasmine loved sunny days. She would play outside in the sun's warmth, dig in the mud, and run wild through the fields. Flowers and wind brought Jasmine smiles. Climbing trees brought her joy. In the sunshine, Jasmine felt alive!
But, Jasmine hated cold cloudy days. The days were so down and dreary. The cold wind seemed to chill her very bones. The drizzling rain damped her spirits. On these days, Jasmine only wanted to climb under the covers of her bed and go back to sleep.
On one cloudy day, she looked up in the sky and shook her head. "Another day wasted." Jasmine would read a little, sulk around the house, and infect others with her depression. Suddenly, her friend Ashley called. "Do you want to go with me to the beach today?" Ashley asked her. "This would be a great day to look for clams!" Jasmine declined the offer.
As the drizzle began, Jeremy called. "Would you like to go-cart racing?" he inquired. "There's a great new indoor track. And their electric cars are really fast!" Jasmine said "No."
Late in the afternoon, Jasmine got an e-mail from Denise. "Come over to my house," the e-mail said. "See my new doll for my collection."
"Maybe tomorrow," Jasmine wrote back. Jasmine really didn't want to play with anyone that day. She wanted to be left alone.
That night, wrapped in a blanket, Jasmine sat alone watching television. Her mother walked into the room and shook her head. "You turned down all your friends today so you could feel sorry for yourself," her mom remarked. Jasmine began to get mad, but suddenly stopped. She realized her mom was right. She had wasted the day simply because she didn't like the weather. Jasmine couldn't see beyond the clouds.
Like Jasmine, the people in the gospel also couldn't see beyond the clouds. They couldn't see their friend Jesus had the power to change death into life. They couldn't see Jesus had the power to raise Lazarus. They couldn't shake off their sadness to see the hope Jesus offered.
Closing Question: How can people see beyond the clouds and gain hope?