He Stinketh For He Has Been Dead Four DaysSunday, April 24, 2011
|THE RAISING OF LAZARUS |
Duccio Di Buoninsegna
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth
tempera and gold on panel
As a baptized Roman Catholic I can tell you a few things that I know. One of them is that in the Catholic faith you have many important feast days during the year. Some of them are Christmas, Pentecost, Good Friday, Corpus Christi, the Epiphany and Easter.
If you might guess that the most important of those feast days would be Christmas you would be wrong even though that day has become a commercial holiday that tops all others. Few might know that the Epiphany on January 6 is the second most important of all. The gathering of the three wise men at the manger represents the transferring (or the addition) of the Old Testament contract between God and the Israelites to include gentiles, too. The three wise men or kings were gentiles. Strictly speaking a Jew would tell you that a gentile would be uncircumcised. So on that day of the Epiphany we Catholics celebrate the fact that henceforth the Israelites were not part of an exclusive club to heaven’s kingdom!
The most important feast of all is Easter. It is important because if the man who was man and God, simultaneously, performed miracles, brought Lazarus from the dead, converted water into excellent wine, and who died at the cross, did not come back from death as He said He would, then all the preceded Him would be a sham.
I have often wondered why it is that only one of the evangelists, St. John mentioned the miracle of the raising of Lazarus. Unique to the account is that we read that Lazarus had been dead for four days. Christ had been originally to see the sick man but was held up so that when He did arrive the man had been long dead. Christ tells Martha, Lazarus’ sister to roll back the stone of the tomb and she interjects with the explanation that it would be an unwise move as her brother had been dead for four days and she added, “Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he had been dead four days.” Note the man holding his nose in the illustration above!
The parallel between the tomb and the rolling back of the stone with the same incident that is Easter Sunday only differs in that Christ was in the tomb for three days.
A previous Easter with Alice
Easter Sunday and the purple stain
Whence the Easter Bunny and Attila Richard Lukacs