“Yesterday I was crucified with Christ; today I am glorified with him. Yesterday I died with him; today I am given life with him. Yesterday I was buried with him; today I rise again with him.” St Gregory, 4th cent. “Traditionally we have found it easy to think of the cross as the measure of God’s love for us. Because of the focus on the cross, we find it more difficult to think of the resurrection as also the love of God, perhaps all the more so,” writes scripture scholar Kieran O’Mahony. Our Catholic culture has tended to focus on Good Friday and make it the centrepiece of the sacred Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. Good Friday and Easter comprise the one mystery of God’s love.

Till this moment they had failed to understand the teaching of Scripture that he must rise from the dead – John 20:9. Peter and the other disciples “got it” when they went into the empty tomb and saw the burial cloths. They saw and believed. I wonder if there is a little place in us that doesn’t understand, and probably never will understand the resurrection. Death is natural. Loss is natural. Grief is natural. But the empty tomb, the stone rolled away, the burial cloths and the cloth that covered his head….? That’s the ‘sign’ of the glory of God that miraculously and mysteriously elicits our belief, our faith, our trust and our ‘heart’s understanding’.

Easter is an invitation to share in a better way of seeing God and all creation, and within this new faith-vision it makes a lot of sense. It emboldens us to see ourselves more clearly, serve others more effectively, and recognise Jesus more readily. The gospels and the Acts invite us to live but in a different way – to live “in Christ” and to discover we have been raised up. I live now not with my own life but with the life of Christ who lives in me – Gal 2:20. The Spirit promised by Jesus leads us to recognise we are part of a people; our faith is not about individualist survival or a private relationship with God. As such our faith commits us to a different if more demanding way of living. Read Galatians 5:16-25.

Where is Jesus now? If the gospels are anything to go by Jesus is with the poor and the sinners especially. The question is do we recognise him there? Many are poor through little or no fault of their own. Families who are saving to purchase a home find an eviction notice in the mail and have nowhere to go. Some convicted prisoners understand the harm their wrongdoing has done and want to make amends. Some find themselves the victims of corporate downsizing and cannot compete in the job market. Many became addicted to alcohol or drugs and are in twelve-step programs, but are unemployable. What’s next for them? Easter tells them all they are redeemable, there is hope and that all is not lost. And Easter empowers us all to go and reach out to them – cf. Matthew 25: 31ff..

Fr. QQ – 04/05/2023

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