(Saturday before Palm Sunday)
ON THIS DAY THE RISING from the dead of St. Lazarus, the righteous friend of Christ, is celebrated. Holy Week begins with the phrase: “Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany” (John 12:1). His arrival coincided with the Jewish Passover. It started on the 15th of the month of Nissan in commemoration of the freeing of the Hebrew people under the leadership of Moses, from the slavery of the Egyptians by the miraculous act of God. The Church relates preparation and redemption to the events of this week.
Six days before the Passover a feast was given for Christ in Bethany of Judea where Christ had stopped on His way to Jerusalem. Lazarus, His friend, and his sisters were present. A short time earlier Christ had risen Lazarus from the dead, thereby gaining the respect and faith of the people, but also the hatred of the fanatics. The Church names this day the “Saturday of Lazarus” in remembrance of the resurrection of Lazarus and its promise of universal resurrection for all men. The Church connects this celebration, by anticipation, with the Entrance of Christ into Jerusalem: “We carry the Symbols of victory and cry Hosanna in the highest.”
The readings are Hebrews 12:28-13:8 and John 11:1-45.