Jesus Wept- John 11:35
I was just a young boy when my Abuelita "little grandmother" passed away. In her final years she was bed ridden. Since she only spoke Spanish, I had no way to communicate with her except to smile. I wished that I could talk to her but Spanish was a secret language for my parents- a way to talk without us kids understanding the conversation. For my great-grandmother, a smile was all she needed.
The funeral still burns in my mind even though it took place over four decades ago. I will never forget the image of the coffin sinking into the ground. It was the first time I cried in public. I blame my Grandpa's sister, Cuca, for this. She wailed like a coyote and the rest of us just added a little harmony.
I guess I am in good company because Jesus was also moved to tears when he saw how sad the crowd was while standing in front of his friend's tomb. This story perplexes me because Jesus knew where Lazarus was headed, yet he still cried. Why?
Because Jesus is both human and Divine, He feels the same emotions that we feel. The Divine part of Him knew that Lazarus would live forever in Heaven. The human part was feeling that deep sense of loss of someone very special in his life. He felt the pain of each person in the crowd and could not help but shed tears.
My father hated tears. To him they were a sign of weakness. The only time I saw my father cry was at our reunion when he and Molly returned from Morelia, Mexico. It is a moment that I will cherish forever even though my father later apologized for his "outburst". The love he had inside his heart could not be restrained. My father knew deep down that our reunion would only be for a short while...that Jesus was calling him to his final destination. At his funeral, his twin brother shared a letter from my dad that was written before he left Mexico. He said "it is not over til the fat lady sings but I already hear her humming a few bars."
When Jesus called Lazarus out of the cave, it was not for Lazarus's sake but for the people in the crowd. It was also for you and me. Jesus wanted all who follow Him to know that he has power over death, a door that all of us must pass through to reach our ultimate destination.
I miss the people on the other side of the door and I know just how my relatives feel this week as they prepare to celebrate the life of someone very special. I am certain that my father had tears in his eyes as he hugged his brother-in-law for the first time in Heaven. Tears are not a sign of weakness...they are merely a sign of the love we have for one another both in Heaven and on earth...