The resurrection of our Lord Jesus, part two

Published 1:00 pm Saturday, April 23, 2022

By Fr. Jonathan Filkins

The Resurrection bestows an incredible dignity upon our humanity and our world that challenges the despairing dogmas of our fearful age and day. The Resurrection is the strongest possible affirmation of human individuality and human dignity.

Think about what is being communicated to us in these stories. The body matters. While it cannot be everything, it cannot be nothing either. It, too, is part of who we are even as the physical world, too, is part of reality. Indeed, one of the truths of the Resurrection is that it not only affirms our bodily existence, but also asserts emphatically that the world, our earthly world, is God’s world.

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The Resurrection is radical new life, for us, because it goes to the root of the matter. It changes everything. It changes death from being the literal dead end of existence, to becoming the way of life with God; body and soul are made adequate to each other. Death has been swallowed up into life. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is radical good news. Not only does it give us the hope of the resurrection for ourselves but it changes us now. We live in the power of the life of the Resurrection. It is the life of the Church.

These days, new life springs forth out of death. Jesus Christ died and rose again. In our baptism, we die to ourselves and are born again to God. How? Through the death and resurrection of Christ into which we are been visibly and sacramentally incorporated. Lovely word. We are embodied into Christ. All this is Resurrection. It is change that you can believe in. Why? Because you can see it this Easter. Because, in the proclamation of the Resurrection, we are asked to think about its radical meaning and truth. It is, quite simply, an idea that carries with it its own reality. Christ is true to his word and he is the living Word; we can only truly live in him. It is the business of the Church to proclaim this and to make it known.

It is not always easy. We so easily fall prey to our own assumptions and arrogance and find ourselves in despair. The counter-point is found in contemplating the mysteries that are proclaimed in the life of the Church. We consider these stories of the Resurrection. What we may discover is how they anticipate all and every objection and complaint; they confront all our uncertainties and skepticisms. What we see is how the idea of the Resurrection takes hold on the minds of the disciples of all times and becomes believable, albeit in ways that necessarily stretch our minds. These stories show us the struggle to meditate upon the mystery of the Resurrection and the wonder of it all. What does the Resurrection mean? It is we shall be like the Resurrected Christ. That as He is, so shall we be.

Should we ever want to say anything more than that? Even atheist moralists will perhaps grudgingly admit that Christ is an example to follow in terms of justice and compassion. We proclaim something more than a role model and an example, of course, something more than a charismatic guru offering utopian illusions. We proclaim the living Christ, risen from the dead, whose Resurrection changes everything and whose life is given for us, so that his life may live in us. This is change that we can believe in. Change that changes us.           

Christ is risen. Alleluia, Alleluia!