Question of Questions

Clergy Corner by Fr. Robert Falabella

Lent prepares us to recall the fact and purpose of the  Resurrection of Jesus Christ that took place two thousand years ago; to help us continue to grow ever more deeply into the reality of Jesus Christ and our calling to have a personal participation eternally in His glorified risen life. Let us recall that several times in His public life Jesus prophesied His being led to death by His enemies and of His Resurrection from the dead with its Redemptive implications: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will build it up.” Jesus was speaking of the temple of His Body” (Jn 2:19-22). Again, Peter, James and John, had witnessed the Transfiguration of Christ, where the heavenly Father proclaimed: “This is my beloved Son…listen to Him;” however, while coming down from the mountain of the Transfiguration, Jesus then instructed these Apostles to say nothing of this Revelation until “…the Son of man rises from the dead” (Mt 17: 1-10). And, as we now know, it was after His Resurrection that the Apostles, in obedience to Jesus’ command, then    revealed what had taken place on that mountain. Further, there were other prophecies by Jesus of His being put to death and rising from the dead, as evidenced in the Scriptures: e.g. “…and (Jesus) began to teach them…that the Son of man must suffer…be killed and after three days rise again…” (Mk 8:31; Lk 18:33; Jn 20:9).

This historical reality of His Resurrection is set down in what is known in Scripture as the “Resurrection Narratives” -- as found in Mt:28; Mk:16; Lk:4; Jn:20,21.We should note, however, that the Apostles, notwithstanding all the miracles Jesus performed in His three years of public life, could not  imagine someone coming back from the grave, and so notwithstanding all that Jesus had prophesized about His Resurrection from the dead, they did not accept it -- in spite of having loved and followed Him during His public life. This is especially evidenced with Mary Magdalene and those other  women who, while having faithfully followed and loved Jesus, were nonetheless on their way to the tomb to anoint the Body of Jesus -- a clear proof that they did not believe He was going to rise from the dead! (Mk 16:1-11)

This skeptical attitude is also quite common today, as exemplified in the many books and articles that, especially during the Easter Season, are circulated denying that Christ rose from the dead and declaring that the account of His Resurrection was nothing more than a deceitful ruse circulated by His followers who, secretly stole the Body from the tomb, hid the Body and then went about claiming: “He has risen as He said He would.”

The “Question of Questions” -- as St. Paul preached: “If Jesus Christ be not risen, then we are the most miserable of human beings, since we are still in our sins…” (1Cor:15:19), meaning that we are still estranged from God and His love and have yet to experience the cornucopia of eternal joy hidden in His revelation: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the mind of man what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1Cor 2:9).

Recall the words of Jesus: “…without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5), that is, without accepting and living the Mystery of God’s living presence within our soul through our encounter with Christ through His sacramental life within us -- all of which had its beginning in “Let us make man in our image and likeness” (Gen 1:26); further revealed to love as I have loved”(Jn15:12), with the awesome transformation of its potential maturing into the likeness of the glorified humanity of Christ: “I live now not I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20), (until) “…Now we see through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face!” (1 Cor 13:12) (1 Jn 3:2).

The corollary of the ‘question of questions’ then, is WHOM am I to believe - - what Christ has said and done and the consequent belief of His followers, who at first did not take seriously the prophesizing of His death and Resurrection until they actually experienced the risen Christ; or do I place my faith in the likes of present-day godless secularists found in all levels of society -- but all of whom have this one main characteristic -- being other than Jesus. If one does not believe in Jesus, then whatever else may be believed, it will come down to be “other than Jesus” -- such a denial will always have its basis in one’s rejection of Jesus. Whether one likes it or not, the rejection of Jesus will be forever a part of one’s eternal destiny -- forever closing the door to Heaven.

Let us present the Question of Questions this way: Suppose you and I had been among the early followers of Christ in His three years of public life. Why would we have chosen to be viciously persecuted, put into prison, and ultimately crucified in order to support what we found out to be a lifeless body in the tomb -- indicating we had been followers of a deceptive liar or someone mentally ill! Is it not justifiable to yield to common sense in this matter, which reasonably argues against such a gratuitous assertion having any creditability whatsoever by those deniers of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ?

Finally, in the Resurrection Narratives, the Apostles confronted a risen Body of Christ endowed with supernatural properties, beyond that of our limited natural powers: e.g. Jesus able to pass through the door of the upper room (Jn 20:19); -- thus revealing the Glorified Risen Body of Christ -- a glorification which will be eternally shared in Heaven by all those graced to be in the presence of the Risen Christ!

Tags: Fr. Robert, Clergy Corner
 

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