April 16, 2022

Homily for the Saturday of Lazarus (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin
"Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days" (John 11:39).

The story of Lazarus' resurrection is known to you, listeners. We now turn our attention to one of its circumstances. When Jesus Christ approached the tomb of the righteous Lazarus to resurrect him, and when He said to take away the stone that lay at the tomb, the sister of the deceased, Martha, said: "Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days."

Christian Listeners! Stink comes from a sinner, a rotten smell can be smelled, just as it stinks from a dead person on the fourth day after his death. Does every sinner stink? All the unrepentant. Who can smell that a sinner stinks? People smell, guardian angels especially smell, Jesus Christ smells, and the stench of sin is smelled most clearly; but He does not move away, does not run away from the sinner, but approaches, and approaches as close as possible to him, in order to resurrect him, who has died from sins, in order to take away the stench of sin from him. He approaches and stands, and waits for the sinner to reveal his sin, which, like a stone, lies on him and crushes his soul.

But let us not forget what long-suffering a sinless God needs in order to approach a sinner who stinks! Do you remember how He shed tears, how He grieved, how He was indignant in spirit when He wanted to resurrect Lazarus? And why? From the stench of sin, from the evil that sin does to people, from those tears and sorrows caused by sin.

Therefore, let us not keep a sinful stone on our soul, let us rather reveal our sins to God. It is hard to shed tears, hard to sorrow; but tears for sins and sorrow before God are short-lived, and Jesus Christ is with us, immediately our soul, which died from sins, like Lazarus who died, will resurrect, and tears, and sorrow, and the stench of sin will drive away, and we will come to life, calm down.

O Lord, create in me a clean heart and open my mouth so that I can weep before You for my sins and reveal my transgressions to You. Amen.