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Catholic Dictionary




1. the brother of Mary and Martha, who befriended and entertained Jesus in their home in Bethany. While Jesus "was away," Lazarus was taken ill and died. Their faith was so strong that both Mary and Martha greeted Jesus, on his return four days later, with the same words: "If you had been here, my brother would not have died." At the tomb Jesus ordered Lazarus to rise; he came out of the tomb at once in the burial wrappings, to the amazement of the mourning family and friends. The Pharisees were so worried by Jesus' growing popularity that they decided on that day that he must die (John 11); 2. the name Jesus used to represent the poor man in the parable he related concerning the fate of Dives, the rich man who lived luxuriously, and Lazarus, the impoverished beggar, who ate the scraps from Dives' table. When they died, the rich man suffered torment in Hades, while Lazarus rested on Abraham's bosom (Luke 16:19-31). (Etym. Greek lazaros from Hebrew 'el'azar, God has helped.)