The Real Meaning of the Resurrection
Still saying Happy Easter? It is still quite appropriate, as we have now reached only the third Sunday (and week) of Easter. There are a grand total of seven weeks of Easter, taking us right up to Pentecost Sunday. Beginning week seven, on that seventh Sunday, we will celebrate the Ascension of our Lord, which we commemorate in the second decade of the Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary.
So, we dedicate seven weeks to celebrate the first decade of Glorious Mysteries…the Resurrection of the Lord. Two weeks have now passed, and even if we are not courageous enough to display our faith with a continued “Happy Easter!” greeting, have we conscientiously given serious thought to, and/or spoken to our younger children or grandchildren about, what this astounding occurrence truly means for us?
Every time we say the Creed at Mass, we exclaim: “We look forward to the resurrection of the dead and life in the world to come.” We also profess the Resurrection in every Rosary we pray. But…how much time do we spend…really thinking about what the Resurrection really means? In today’s Gospel, we again hear Jesus continuing to open up their memories and their minds to understand the scriptural references to His rising on the third day. Chapter 11 of the Gospel of John illustrates one of our Lord’s many Resurrection references, that appear to be not fully understood. In this instance, we hear Martha profess the Resurrection:
“Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the Resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the Resurrection and the Life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”
She says all of this to Christ, but then she protests: “Lord, it has been four days. There will be a stench,” … meaning her understanding remains still theoretical at this point, or somehow less than what she says. If Martha, who loves Jesus…and who understands and has professed (just as Peter did) that Jesus is the Christ, does not get the reality of the Resurrection, who else doesn’t get it? Probably you and me. We’ve all lost people we love, we’ve all known that pain of burying someone. What would our response be to Christ if He were to come to us and say, “I am the Resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me, will never die. Do you believe this?” Hopefully with over 2000 years of consistent Catholic Teaching and Tradition, we can reply with a very confident “Yes.”
I thought of my own family members, relatives, and long-time friends and wondered, what would the response be? Hopefully, they also will echo: “Yes, Lord. I’ve come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” I hope we can all muster up a mustard seed’s worth of faith in Our Lord’s teachings and miracles, and recognize that even though we are broken vessels, even though we have the stench of sin upon us, Jesus continues to stand at the door of our hearts knocking, and asking each of us to roll away the stones holding our belief back, and respond affirmatively. So, Jesus reveals himself by calling, “Lazarus, come out,” and the dead man hears Christ’s voice and comes. When you and I contemplate the Resurrection, let us imagine all those we love, present, fully present, more real than we’ve ever known them. The Resurrection is why we know we can profess with confidence that Jesus is Lord, and that our God is love. He didn’t just come to do miracles for some … he came to free and heal all who respond to His voice from the shackles of sin and death. He came as King, to invite us into the Kingdom, today and every day.
So, when we pray and reflect on this 1st Glorious Mystery of the Rosary, pray that even those of us considered dead, for days, months, and years on end, will come hopping out of our caves. And let us pray also that we will, and all those we love included, respond to Christ’s question…“Do you believe this?” … with a resounding…“Yes Lord. I do believe, help me in my unbelief!” Happy Third Week of Easter to one and all. He is truly Risen! He is Risen Indeed! I hope to see you at our Spring Carnival today.