Dearly beloveds in the Crucified and Risen Lord,
The resurrection of Christ, Jesus being raised from the dead, changed the lives of the disciples of Jesus. Those who believed that death was ultimate, were taught to look beyond death, those who spoke only of the end, were taught the language of eternity, those who were confined to the boundaries of the finite limitations of time and space were enabled to imagine the infinity, those who were assured of mortality were helped to envision immortality. The resurrection of Jesus which continues to transform the community of believers today, is the dawn of new hope unlimited, of immortality and life eternal. Easter is the celebration of hope.
The resurrection story is a narrative of completely unexpected, utter surprises, and therefore one of shock, disorientation, and chaos. A close reading of the resurrection narratives informs us that the disciples never really believed that their Lord would return from the dead; they were sorrowful, fearful of their future, puzzled by the mystery of the death of a just man who went about doing only good. The world around them had crumbled and they were bewildered with a sense of emptiness. With the news of the stone being rolled away at Jesus’ tomb, they found themselves in a disturbing new world where anything was possible. The message of Jesus’ resurrection is a sprout of imagination, a bud of new possibilities, a shoot that promises a great new beginning.
In the resurrection narratives, on the third day, the women led by Mary Magdalene went to the tomb with perfumes for embalming, but they were in for a surprise: a strong earthquake and the stone being rolled away, and they could meet up with an angel of the Lord (Mt.28:6). The angel corrected their perspective “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” (Lk.24:5). Hope is about correcting our perspective; it is about awakening to God’s surprise. It is about recognizing the reality and learning to channel all our energies and strength in the right place and direction. God does new things and helps us to look forward. God awakens us to a world of new possibilities which we never thought existed and resurrects us to be a new creation.
In John’s Gospel, on listening to Mary Magdalene’s narration, Peter and the beloved disciple began a run of exploration and research, of stopping, stooping and peering into the tomb, that left them amazed. Whereas Simon Peter could see the strips of cloth and the piece of cloth that had been used to cover Jesus’ face, both rolled up and kept in a place, he could not look beyond the tomb. However, it is said that the beloved disciple, when he saw it, he believed that Jesus was risen. Hope is looking beyond what is seen; perceiving and recognizing the significance of what is seen. It is believing in seeing the unseen and the conviction of things not seen.
In His Service