Brothers & Sisters
Today our focus is on Easter, on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Thomas Keating in his Book entitled, THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST, makes this comment which to my mind is worthy of our careful consideration, “The resurrection of Jesus is the first day of the New Creation. The events following the resurrection and the various appearances of Jesus to his disciples and friends are used in the liturgy to help us understand the significance of this central Mystery of our faith.” Looking at the Creation Story, he notes that the first human family, in the persons of Adam and Eve, lost God’s intimacy and friendship because of their disobedience. Jesus came into the world for the express purpose of restoring that broken relationship, so he identified himself with fallen humanity and offered himself as a sacrifice for human sin. In bearing the burden of human sin, Jesus felt the pain of loss of personal union with the Father, and we see this in the cry from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.”
The resurrection of Jesus, however, affirms in the first place God’s acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus, as a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the world. In the second place, it opens up for us a totally new life, where divine union or intimacy with God is now accessible to every human being.
We will understand from this why Paul was so insistent that the salvation of humankind depended not only on Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, but required for its completion God’s demonstration of his acceptance by raising him from the dead. Paul wrote, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (1Cor.15:17). Paul continues, “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died” (1 Cor.15:20). He, Paul, then shows how Christ’s resurrection put in motion the reversal of all the negative effects that were caused by Adam’s sin, “For as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ” (1 Cor.15:22).
You will appreciate that in order to get a fuller understanding of what it means to be made alive in Christ, and to know what it is that God demands of us as we carry out God’s mission in this present age, we would need to familiarize ourselves with the encounters of Jesus with his followers during the forty days he spent with them prior to his ascension. What is clear is that Jesus brought them out of the discouragement, which so often plagues us today, and commissioned them to engage in new tasks with the promised empowerment of his Spirit.
Have a blessed Easter!