This is what it’s about!
With so many readings available for Sunday’s gospel alone (to say nothing of the vigil) I will need to do something a little different this week instead of the gospel reflection. After all, this week is like no other.
When I was studying Christology at uni, I remember the lecturer saying that the message of Jesus (primarily his call to repentance and renewal) was a message that came in and out of fashion prior to his coming. There have been many people who have called the Israelites to repentance. A clear example of this is John the Baptist but there were others.
Naturally the discussion in the common room was, “Well, what made Jesus’ message so special? Much of what he preached was a message already heard.” There were changes and enough unique elements to distinguish his teaching from others, but really, there was nothing new about the general message of repentance, love and relationship.
Then it dawned on us! Oh, it must be that whole resurrection thing! That will make you sit up and take notice!
It can be easy sometimes to overlook the resurrection and especially its significance. Yet it is the core of our faith (when we sometimes skirt the edges); it is the historically pivotal moment (when we are sometimes concerned with the immediate); it is the cause of our hope and joy (when we sometimes despair).
The resurrection is THE sign of everlasting life. It witnesses to the person of Jesus; to who he is.
The resurrection is the singular sign of God. The crucifixion is significant and fundamental for our redemption, don’t get me wrong. But Jesus was not the only person crucified. He was not the first nor was he the last. Though it’s hard to compare it, Jesus may not have suffered as much as others – some early church martyrs went through hell on earth. The crucifixion, though necessary, does not witness to God and the suffering, no matter how redemptive, also falls short of equal witness. It is the act of the resurrection that witnesses to God so profoundly.
The resurrection reveals to us the uniqueness of Jesus. This is important because it identifies who he is: the second person of the Holy Trinity. It is because of who he is that makes this crucifixion so important. It is because of who he is that makes the suffering redemptive. It is because of who he is that makes the sacrifice efficacious. If the resurrection never happened we would never have recognized Jesus as God.
Incomprehensible! Imagine that. Imagine the joy! You’ve watched your friend, your teacher, your leader die a bloody and public death. And yet here he is; alive more than ever. How in God’s good name…?
Confusion. You’re wanting to believe, but it’s just too unbelievable. Back from the dead? Really? But it was upon seeing when John believed and realized they had failed to understand the scriptures – the scriptures, not the miracle.
As with every other miracle we don’t know how it happened. There is no record of the economy of the resurrection. What we do have is an empty tomb, the cloths and witnesses: witnesses who live in the hope of everlasting life even though they (we) don’t understand it.
Hope is real, as real as love. But this doesn’t have to be a feeling, though it could be. Once a hope has been fulfilled that’s when we encounter a sense of relief, a sense of joy, a sense of awe and wonder. We may not always experience (or rather, feel) these in this life, though we could, but we will in the next. “Our hope is in The Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
Do our actions bear witness to the resurrection? Do we live in hope? Do we join our sacrifices to his in an act of redemptive suffering? We live in the knowledge of everlasting life and the privilege of hope post-resurrection. What impact has this had in your life? On the lives of those you know?