Tuesday in the Octave of Easter
I wonder if we can really hear the Word of God proclaimed as it understands itself, as kerygma. It is the explosion of God’s intention into the world, the way things really are. Let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified. Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and they asked, What are we to do? Jesus has been raised (indicative). What are we to do (imperative)? The naked exposure to the reality God has created necessarily evokes a response to a new situation (conversion).
This is not the way we normally engage with reality. We negotiate and arbitrate. We enter relationships with caution and reserve, careful not to give ourselves away. Leave bargaining and wiggle room. The Ukraine and Russia are supposedly in negotiations, but many think this is just a polite cover and pretense for global distraction while war is relentlessly waged.
The Resurrection narratives have never persuaded skeptics or those who look for evidence that convinces hard, cold reason. They proclaim and present a reality which clearly subverts our accustomed judicial systems. As Pope Benedict XVI said, Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but an encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. It is a way of living from this new horizon and toward a new direction.
We are asked to take a hard look at where and why we are living. Whom are you looking for? Poor Mary in our Gospel gets peppered with questions: Why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for? These are questions that turn us from dead ends and raise new possibilities. When do we come to life? We can postpone the real challenges of life by hanging around our tombs: personal areas we avoid and unlived hopes (“don’t go there”), treading water and biding our time until the end of the movie, having all the settled answers so that we don’t hear any questions, adopting a victim stance and blaming other for our sadness (they have taken away …).
It was not until Mary was addressed by name that she began to recognize that Christ was with her. She had to turn and turn again to acknowledge the new reality that now embraced her. She became new with a new role of evangelizing the evangelizers. The Gospel addresses us personally. Our conversion sends us into the community created by the communion of the Father and Son, of our Father and God. The Risen life of Christ opens our eyes to recognize and encounter this life as the source of our own life. I have seen the Lord.