Spirituality for Today – March 2016 – Volume 20, Issue 8

An Indescribable Event

Rev. Raymond K. Petrucci

A photo of a rising sun behind the clouds

The Church's assertion of being the pathway to salvation is founded on an indescribable event – the Resurrection of Jesus. No one witnessed the Resurrection. The empty tomb, the sign of the great absence, was what the woman and the apostles saw on that early Sunday morning. What soon followed was an abundance of testimony on the presence of the Risen Christ. Do not look for symbolism or any manner of metaphor in the narrative of what was witnessed by the followers of Christ on the Easter morning. The humiliating death of Jesus has resulted in his exaltation and what the enemies of Christ thought to be over was just beginning.

Once we acknowledge the resurrection of Christ, we next must work on the resurrection of ourselves, our conscience, our understanding of our relationship to one another, our source of meaning and purpose in our lives. All that Christ did was to reveal God's love, mercy, and saving activity for the benefit of mankind. Now, it is up to the individual to respond to all that has been accomplished for his soul. Excuses for not knowing the intention of God and our responsibility in faith are no longer valid. The blood, sweat, and tears of Jesus' ministry invalidate ignorance of the task that all claiming the name of Christian has before them. If Christ has risen, we must rise also. This mandate requires an active devotion to witnessing to all that Jesus came to teach and, in a deeply personal way, all that Jesus' resurrection can make of us.

The root of the matter, if we want a stable world, is a very simple and old-fashioned thing, a thing so simple that I am almost ashamed to mention it for fear of the derisive smile with which wise cynics will greet my words. The thing I mean is love, Christian love, or compassion. If you feel this, you have a motive for existence, a reason for courage, an imperative necessity for intellectual honesty.

Bertrand Russell

One might be surprised that at this Easter time the theme of eternal life in heaven is expanded to encompass the passing life on earth. Yet, the gospels relate words of warning on Jesus's lips. We are told that we cannot expect to enter into the reign of God unless while on earth we love one another and dedicate ourselves to lives of service and adorn ourselves in the humility of a little child. If you are feeling a little squeamish, I join you. We know that the ideals of true discipleship are lofty things that we jump for and wish to grasp. Although ideals they may be, we dare not treat them as unattainable and then place them on the top shelf of our mind's closet where we place the goals deemed impossible and, therefore, forgettable. Lent is the season that teaches us that we need God's help and that nothing is impossible with God's help. We also learn to rely on the Holy Spirit for insight and wisdom in creating a renewed and holier person. Perhaps, we shall fall short of the improvement we intended, but a growth of self-understanding occurred and a spiritual enlightenment adding to the ability to manufacture more effective strategies for living a better life increased. Depending on the Lenten gift of hope in the love and mercy of God, we move ahead assured and confident in our desire to listen to the urgings of the Holy Spirit and follow the path of wisdom on which we are led. Stunned in awe of the Resurrection, we, nonetheless, are comforted and encouraged to live in that mystery and to feel the warm and welcoming presence of the all-knowing God.

If, as one convert to the faith stated, "Being a Catholic is like holding a tiger by the tail," the overpowering presence of faith finds its ultimate expression in the Resurrection. Jesus' victory over sin and death manifested so completely on that Easter morning and we hold on to its irresistible force with all of our might. As the four gospels unfold the story of the Resurrection of Jesus as eyewitnesses of the risen Lord or as companions of eyewitness, we might find ourselves transported, or, more adequately expressed, transcended to that entrance to the empty tomb, or within the locked room among the bewildered apostles, or with those disciples on the road to the town of Emmaus. In truth, for us the place of transcendence will happen in a pew or around the altar of the Eucharistic presence of the Risen lord. One thing is certain, the glory and joy of Our Savior's summoning us to our Easter worship will be indescribable.

From all of us at Clemons Productions, a blessed and happy Easter!