Sunday, April 17, 2022

Gospel Reflection John 20:1-9

Today is it. The day we celebrate the most important and decisive event in the history of the world. I love St. Paul's words "if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied." Indeed, if there is still a tomb with the bones of Jesus somewhere, then our hope is in vain. 

This sounds like a very precarious position. To stake one's very life in many cases on the claim that a man was killed and raised again from the dead. To risk alienating friends, family, and co-workers to follow the teachings and example of this man who was dead and is now alive. To subject oneself to mockery and derision. All of this and more Christians have done with glad hearts, despite being dismissed as foolish, delusional, harmful, and in our present day, even hateful. 

Still, here we stand and can do nothing else because that is what happened. Not because I or anyone else wanted it to happen or because some happy accident sprang froth from random particle collisions, but because God acted from eternal love for His creation. 

As St. Paul goes on to say in 1 Corinthians 15 "But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive."

The resurrection of Jesus Christ was a literal, bodily resurrection. It was not merely a subjective experience of His followers or anything that can be ultimately explained away by one's discomfort with the spiritual or the miraculous. If God exists, then the entire cosmos is created by Him, sustained in its very existence, at every moment it exists. Every molecule belongs to Him. So, raising His only begotten Son from the dead is not a difficult feat (as if God faces any limitation).

The resurrection of Jesus demonstrates that there is something more than our earthly existence. Death is not the end. It is a condition that was brought into the world that will one day be evacuated from the world. 

I could not conclude today's reflection any better than by sharing another passage from St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:

When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

Glory to Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord!

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