Back in Tahoe Pines, it was late at night and Cato Tonikus was doing his homework. Lightning bugs seemed to knock on the window outside, asking him to come out and play. His mother stood over him with a willow switch and yelled every time he answered a question different from the way his mother wanted. The tension was all over Cato Tonikus’ face.
The next day Cato Tonikus was in the back yard carrying a large hay bail in his arms. It was the fourth trip he had made in the last hour between the barn and where the cattle were fenced in a field.
Cato was not going fast enough for his father who was yelling, “You lazy brat. Why are you always out to make your jobs so difficult. Get the cows fed and get that barn cleaned out.”
Because Cato Tonikus carried the hay in front of him, he failed to see the log that was in his path. He tripped and fell. At this, his father became red in the face and yelled even more. Next, Cato’s father noticed that his son was not moving.
At the doctor’s office, the doctor told Cato Tonikus’ father, “Even after tests, I cannot find anything physically wrong. The boy is in what he calls a catatonic state. I have no solution for Cato Tonikus’ problem but bed rest and waiting for whatever is causing his problem to go away.”
Several strong summers and cold winters came and went. Four men were at a local hospital where they visited a catatonic friend. Nothing seemed to work.
The eldest of the group commented, “There is this itinerant preacher in town. He has the full knowledge of Lakota tradition, coupled with Catholic faith. He can do something.”
The youngest countered, “To do something, Cato has to have faith. Look at him. He is a bowl of jelly.”
The tallest added, “We have faith. That must mean something.”
The shortest put in his opinion, “Lets role.”
Salvador began a Eucharistic service by walking down the center aisle. The service followed its course according to Catholic tradition. Men sat in the pews with leather covered Missals and fine multi-covered page markers. All wore three-piece suites, or nice golf shirts, and Khaki pants. Some carry briefcases and books from the university.
Still others dressed in the dress of everyday farmers and migrant workers. They came from every village of Washoe and Sacramento Counties, along with Sacramento itself. The power of the Mighty Savior was with Salvador for healing. A song played on the radio, “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show.” The Gospel reading was that of the paralytic.
Salvador stood to give the homily, “I am so glad, being home. You say I am from Virginia City and that is so. My home, on the other hand is where people listen to and follow the word of Pop, and that is here with you. I ask you to look at the two options Jesus gives us. What is easier to say, “Child, your sins are forgiven,” or Pick up your mat and go home.” On the surface, both are equally easy. Neither have any tongue twisters.”
Salvador commented, “If you look, both sentences have exactly seven syllables. What is easier to say? It is no coincidence that Jesus chose these two sentences. One question represents the way of Pop, and the other the way of the conservatives and the republicans of his day.”
Salvador asked his listeners, “Look at the option Jesus chose. He chose the option of empowerment. He needs to say his words only once. Jesus’ words empowered the paralytic to go out into the world, a free man, praising Pop for what Pop has done for him. Remembering his rescue propelled him to do the right things in the future. Pop and his son Jesus chose to enter into a relationship with the paralytic, as equals, albeit rescuer and rescued.”
Salvador asked the congregated people, “Look at the option of the First Century republicans and conservatives and the Twenty-first Century Pharisees, ‘Pick up your mat, and go home.’ This command empowers the paralytic to pick up his mat and go home. When he gets there, his paralysis returns, and he sits, not knowing what to do next.”
Salvador complained, “You managers complain about this lack of initiative, but you create it. You First Century republicans, conservatives, and the Twenty-first Century Pharisees choose the second option at every time and in every place. It is the option of domination, power, and control.”
Salvador pointed out the disadvantages of the plan, “It also keeps you very busy. It is hard work, trying to think for some 300 million Americans or even the thousands in a large business. It is hard to think for the groups of five and ten charges in a small business. You must constantly keep watch over your charges, making sure that they do everything you want and in the way that you want them to do it.”
Salvador also pointed out, “They do not have control over their lives. As a result, they are always trying to find a way to do less than you expect. You managers must repeat the same commands and expend more syllables.”
Of the worker’s work, Salvador commented, “When they finish projects, they do not know what to do next, so they sit there, paralyzed. You managers must go, find them, and assign new projects. This expends more syllables and more effort. If you do not expend this effort, they sit there, in paralysis. This is saving syllables?”