A businessman from England, named James Stevens, came to Kolkata in 1968 and decided to give up his comfortable existence back in home country, and dedicate his life for the rehabilitation of leprosy patients’ children from the slums in and around the city. One day in 1970 he travelled into the slums of the City in a bus loaned from Mother Teresa. He got eleven children whose parents were leprosy patients, and with these he began a house named ‘Udayan’, meaning ‘Rising’. Today it is home to hundreds of children who are provided with a better life. The children are given a new lease of life, free from the scourge of leprosy and its associated poverty. It is really a resurrection in their life. In fact James Stevens is not the only one who causes such ‘risings’ in the life of the poor. By now we are familiar with similar happenings as part of Church’s mission among the poor.
In today’s first reading Prophet Ezekiel, who lived during the period of the exile of the Israelites in Babylon, consoles the people with the hope of a future restoration of the lost land and temple and regaining of freedom by using the symbolism of ‘resurrection’. He first describes a vision he had of a valley of ‘dry bones’. These bones eventually put on flesh and skin and then get back the breath of life. In fact the people would go back to their homeland after a few years to resettle themselves and rebuild the temple. Long fifty years of life in captivity would finally give way to a ‘resurrection’ in their life.
The Gospel episode describing the resuscitation of Lazarus on this Sunday close to the celebration of Easter, tells us who the author of life is and how resurrection could be a reality. As a matter of fact Jesus had caused ‘risings’ in the lives of the people by healing them of their physical illnesses and disabilities and in many cases socially rehabilitating them. Zacchaeus and Matthew who were tax collectors and the woman caught