THE JOY AND SUBSTANCE OF THE GOOD NEWS
The Church walked onto the world stage fully functioning. There was no lead in time. Peter and Andrew, James and John, Mary of Magdala and Mary the mother of the Lord did not run focus groups to see what would be their message, what would appeal to their demographic, their fellow Jews. They walked out of the locked rooms where they had hidden themselves and into the market place and the temple precinct talking about Jesus. They did not paint the pot any blacker than it was; they did not guild the lily; they spoke of what they had seen and heard.
The account was: our own religious leaders, the priests, the scribes and the Pharisees supported by the people especially after the disruption Jesus caused in the temple when he attacked those selling the animals and birds needed for the sacrifices (this was an attack on something most precious to their faith, the equivalent of someone coming into one of churches and trashing the tabernacle and the blessed sacrament), these people brought Jesus down as a blasphemer, a heretic, a trouble-maker. The used the Roman occupying forces to have him condemned to death by crucifixion.
That was the first part of the account. They were not saying anything that many of those listening to them would not have already known. They had seen it unfold before them. They may have been in the crowds calling “Crucify him!”
The second and main part is new to people and the authorities. Here, the disciples give witness that they have seen Jesus alive. And not just seen him, but eaten with him, talked to him, examined the wounds on this body which though healed are visible. From Jesus said to them, He did not want them think that somehow he was an apparition or a ghost. He was no 3-D holograph projected into their midst like something out of Star Wars or Stargate. He was tangible. He could eat. He could talk and walk. He was the same yet different.
This was the in bursting of the new creation or would it be more accurate to say what God always intended creation and especially those made in the image and likeness of God to be. No more subject to physical pain and suffering, no more living knowing that death was around the corner somewhere – death was finished.
In the light of their reflection on what they experienced in Jesus, they came with a new approach to suffering and death. They came with a new approach to living, the dignity of the human person, the solidarity of the race, the sacredness of each individual.
This new life or better expressed liveliness was available to all provided they opened the sluicegates by professing their faith in Christ. Accepting him as the revelation of God was the key that released the Spirit He wanted them to have. As He had said on Easter night as He stood in their midst, “As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” Sending us to do what? Simply to make more disciples. How do we do it? By living the faith we have. As we do that all those connected to us, spouses, parents, children, friends, work colleagues, directly or indirectly witness someone freely and joyfully the faith.
Fr Adrian Farrelly
|Jun 5, 2015||3rd Sunday of Easter 19.04.2015||Listen||Download|