After a rather dull year, I chose to (for the first time in my life) focus on the hope of the Resurrection during Lent this year. I aimed to frame it not as a naïve optimism, but as a challenge to continue to believe in a light that conquers darkness so that when Easter came around, I might have prepared my heart to believe more than ever that Resurrection was possible.
Today’s Gospel gives names and descriptions for a lot of characters. Especially noteworthy here is Lazarus whose death in the chapter before provokes some of the most powerful words in our Gospels: “Jesus wept.” (Jn 11:35) It is the only time in the Gospels that the Greek word edákrysen is used. Jesus is so moved by their grief that, in praying to his Father, he beckons Lazarus from the tomb where he lay. In our scene for today, Lazarus sits at the table with Jesus, and the writer reveals that the chief priests are looking to kill him because, “many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him.” (Jn. 12: 11)
Through the lens of hope, I can’t help but take note of these people mentioned in the final line. The revival of Lazarus had given them so much hope that those who dared not to hope felt threatened. In watching Jesus himself be moved by the grief of these sisters who had lost their brother, the unnamed people came to know a God who feels the pain of those who suffer. They had witnessed a God who breathes life into those who appear at once dead. (Cf. Is 42: 5) They remind us that God is a God of deep compassion.
As we celebrate the victory of life over death this year, let us then act as witnesses to the God who weeps for the 2.5 million people and their families who have lost their life to coronavirus. Let our hope sustain us in the fight for justice as we join to create a world post-coronavirus that is more compassionate and filled with love than the one we had before.
- Where are you finding hope in your days?
- How can you channel this hope to rejoin a world that is more compassionate and filled with love?
Amirah Orozco is currently in the masters of theological studies program at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry with a focus on systematic theology, especially ecclesiology and Hispanic theology. She works in Hispanic ministry training programs at Formación Continua at the STM. She is originally from the border between El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua.