Reflection for April 23, 2000: Easter Sunday.

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Gillick, Larry, S.J.
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Have you ever stood absolutely wordless at some great exploit of another? How did you do that?" It is Easter Sunday, aka "How-did-You-do-that?" Sunday. We have heard of people having had near-death experiences and who tell about seeing white lights and even looking down upon their own bodies. To these we also say, "How did that happen?"|In today's First Reading, Peter, whom we hear in today's Gospel is the first to be wordless at the sight, has definitely regained his powers of speaking. He proclaims a short history of a very long love-relationship between the God Who raised Jesus and ourselves. Jesus, Who has been raised, has commissioned Peter and others to extend to all people who believe, the forgiveness of sins, which is the ever-lasting gift of God's love.|In the Second Reading, Paul reminds his listeners that when they were baptized into Christ they were oriented to the things above and as Jesus was hidden so are all now, but when He appears again, so will they all, in glory.|We do not see or hear Jesus in today's Gospel, nor do Mary Magdala, Peter or the one whom Jesus loved, John. Jesus is hidden, gone and the prominence of faith begins. Their hearts were empty with His death and now their hearts begin a new kind of relating with Jesus. They do not ask, "How did He do this?" They continue a relationship of trust which had temporarily been fractured by their frail and doubtful denials.|The Resurrection is not so much a mystery or miracle, but a necessity for our continuing in faith. Often, I have had my heart broken by my favorite teams losing a close championship game. I have stood there in bleachers or on sidelines and my hopes are strewn all around me, because in the dying seconds I still believed that something wonderful would happen and they, (and I) would win. It never happens.|Sometimes, when listening on the radio and my team was losing, I actually would turn to a different station to hear if that announcer had a more joyous report. I would listen later to the scores to see if there was some mistake, some update, some rearranging, and my team actually was victorious. It never happened, not even once!|I was and sometimes still, am, hoping for miracles and what I think are absolute necessities. Time diminishes most of my athletic-necessities. The Resurrection of Jesus is not just a dramatic comeback, nor a kindly gesture by God to those who were followers. It is more than an event which, someday, scientists will be able to explain away. Jesus was raised so that His life and death would make some kind of sense. More than that, His rising completes the "love-Promise" that He makes as the "New and ever-lasting Covenant."|Jesus has told us to carry the crosses of our humanity and to live not towards our earthly death as an end, but a beginning. Jesus had to be raised to show us "how it's done." Our being faithful to those experiences of the crosses and losses of our lives, is our side of the covenant. As with Jesus, God accepts that fidelity and has promised that in the end, we all win. All our hopes which lay scattered around our live's feet, are collected and we are raised from the things of this earth to the "above." As Jesus was hidden from sight, so that "above" is now hidden and this makes our faith, faithful and makes the Resurrection necessary. Jesus was raised for us, so that we would believe in the same love for us as it was for Jesus. So our Easter-question is not, "how did You do that?" but "why?"|"I have risen - I am with you once more; You placed your hand on me to keep me safe. How great is the depth of your wisdom, alleluia!" (Entrance Antiphon)
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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