“Tocayos” in Spanish means two or more people with the same name. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus tells the story of the rich man and a beggar named Lazarus, the same name as our hero in the Gospel of John this weekend. At the end of the passage, Abraham says, “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.” Well Jesus goes over the edge in the final of his signs in John’s Gospel. He raises from apparent death his dearest friend of the same name.
Not so strange. We get raised up all the time, resurrected” a lot by interaction with Jesus of Nazareth. If we were an eyewitness on the day when Jesus called Lazarus back to life, any thought on your reaction? Would we have believed with our own eyes? Or “exited stage left” as fast as our little legs could carry us. I wonder if that would have left me standing there like a corpse, just trembling and terrified?
“Let us also go to die with him says the impulsive Thomas, called “Didymus.” Many scholars say he was acting as the identical twin to all who are called to grow in faith; another “Tocayo” of sorts. He demonstrated that his loyalty went far beyond common sense. I like people like that. He didn’t understand that Jesus’ “hour” would bring glory or that Lazarus’ death would bring a deeper revelation of who Jesus was. But Thomas had enough love to be willing to stand with Jesus in spite of the obvious danger.
A funeral director recently called a man for further instructions about his mother-in-law’s body. “Do you want her embalmed, cremated or buried?” “All the three!’ the man answered promptly. “Don’t take any chances.” Many times we do not risk when it comes to death.
There was a moment in the conversion story of Archbishop Romero of El Salvador… at the death of Jesuit Fr. Rutilio Grande. It is said that four or five priests were standing around the night of the murder in the capital city of San Salvador. The Archbishop joined them and asked, “TELL ME PLEASE WHAT I MUST DO TO BE A GOOD BISHOP.” They said, if you spend seven days a week in San Salvador, you’ll spend your time listening to and having tea with the comfortable. So change the recipe. Spend six days a week in the countryside among the “campesinos” and only one day here. Then you’ll be a good bishop! The Archbishop said then you can make the changes to my schedule. The next day in his homily for his dear friend Rutilio Grande, the archbishop replied with his famous words…”He or she who touches one of my priests touches me.” His life was changed, raised up to God’s purposes.
What needs to be raised from the dead around central Phoenix? In our lives and relationships? What needs to be “unbound and set free” in our Catholic community and our country….or just snorted at in the very perturbed-ness of God? We are invited in this final week of Lent to imagine. It could change the world.
There is still time to join us for Friday Lenten activities and devotions. Holy Week is soon on us and all are invited to the Sacred Triduum of three Holy days. All sinners are particularly welcomed to the Communal Penance Liturgy on Tuesday, April 11th at 7PM in the Basilica. Enough confessors will be provided to keep this service to about an hour. Mark Twain once noted that “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
A gentle week,
Fr. Michael Weldon, OFM