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“Unbind him, let him go free” - The Raising of Lazarus

Each week during Lent you are invited to join one of the Brothers as they reflect on God's word in Scripture. For the Fifth Sunday of Lent, Br Mark Murphy offers a reflection on the Gospel story of the raising of Lazarus 

 “Unbind him, let him go free”

(Jn 9:1-9,13-17,34-39)

I always relate the lines “unbind him let him go free” to the reconciliation prayer service in our Marist Year 12 retreat. There are many things that can keep us “bound” in our faith lives – fear, apathy, self-doubt, laziness. These are like “little deaths”.

Jesus takes pity and weeps when he learns of his cousin’s death. This is a real human story where faith is tested. He loves Martha and Mary and respects their request. Jesus brings Lazarus back to life, to this incomplete life with all its weakness and brokenness, not the resurrected life of the last day. Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me, even though he dies he will live and believes in me will never die.”

Jesus’ relationship with, and faith in his Father is boldly stated in his prayer: “Father, I thank you for hearing my prayer. I know indeed that you always hear me, but I speak for the sake of all these who stand round me, so that they may believe it was you who sent me.” This is a real “faith” story – in which we see the power of Jesus to heal and bring back to life. It is a greater healing than the Woman at the well or the Man born blind. In this scene God’s glory is revealed in the raising of Lazarus, so that many may believe.

We may not have had family members or close friends raised to life, but we hope and pray that our faith may be sustained. Will we be able to continue to believe and hope in the resurrection beyond the grave? Will we be able to overcome the everyday “little deaths” that keep us bound and blind to the power of Jesus to heal and give new life to our lives?


Thought: If I truly believe I am the beloved of the Father, then nothing can keep me bound from His love. God’s Glory already shines in and through me. Take some time to let this understanding sit with you. 

Prayer:  Lord, You love me and desire that I live my life to the full. Help me to overcome that which binds me and prevents me from letting your glory shine even more fully in my life. Give me a spirit of openness and humility that your love can overcome my limitations. 


Br Mark Murphy, FMS  hails from Casino on the North Coast of NSW. A Marist Brother for 44 years, Mark is currently serving as a Pastoral Associate at Marist College, Eastwood where he is involved with St Vincent de Paul, conducting retreats and various prayer programs for students. An avid cricketer and sports fan, Mark loves nothing better than relaxing with a good book or casting a fishing line along a beach.