Seriously – John Foley, SJ

John 20:19-31, Divine Mercy Sunday

spiritual-growth-princ1

Do you believe in the Resurrection of Our Lord from the dead?? This is a good question to ask, at least so St. Paul says, because if the answer is “no,” then “our faith is in vain” (1 Cor 15:14-19).

But sometimes it is hard to know what the “resurrection” is. Couldn’t it even be just bringing Jesus back to life so he could go on as before, just a limited ordinary life, as Kazantzakis and Dan Brown have portrayed it?

Here is a metaphor to suggest a better answer.

There is a spiritual soil that everything else sprouts from. In his death, Jesus plunged deep down into this soil. He had stumbled, fallen, and had lost the very thing we think is irreplaceable and to be guarded beyond all else:

life.

But think about it. Isn’t life just another garden plant, sprouting from some rich loam, one that we hardly notice. Yes? Well, that spiritual soil is called love:

vast and quiet love.

“Doubting Thomas” from Sunday’s Gospel was broken-hearted because he thought that such love had died. He warded off his grief by simple denial. “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe”!

And in the Gospel of Luke, it was the women, not the men, who had seen the empty tomb and the angels, and they took it seriously. But “ …  their words seemed an idle tale, and [the disciples] did not believe” (Lk 24:11). In Matthew, Jesus came first to the women, who told the men where he would meet them. They went and “worshipped him, but they doubted” (Mt 28:17). In Mark, Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene, but when she went to the apostles, you guessed it, they rejected her testimony (Mk 16:9). Nor did they listen to the men who had met Jesus walking to Emmaus (Mk 16:12-13).

Hard to miss the fact that women usually believed and men usually did not. The women dared to trust what they saw.

Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code goes several steps further. For him, males have purposely repressed the essence of Christianity. His real truth, guarded through centuries, is that Mary Magdalene was Jesus’ secret wife! Moreover, a flesh and blood descendent from Jesus is alive today (a woman, living outside our #metoo times, and in fear for her life). Obviously if the Gospels are just huge cover-ups, then the resurrection would be just one more spin of the glittering wheel of deception.

But what about the vast and quiet love we spoke about above?

Jesus’ life, death and resurrection aimed us toward the source of all life, the source of the universe, of worlds, of women and men, of marriage and offspring, and taking on the trials of others. Jesus is the river of love that God had poured into the world, now flowing back into the ocean of the Trinity and taking us along, whichever of us chooses to believe.

So, can you live by this resurrection? If you can, then you can believe that love is the foundation of life.

Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe (Gospel).

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