Jesus Christ is risen!
Today we celebrate Easter. Of course, every Catholic Mass celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but especially on Easter. My favorite Mass every year is the Paschal Triduum. Last night was fantastic! A special bonus was being there to witness the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. Mass got me thinking about some Catholic stuff (as usual) so I guess it’s time to start putting some of these thoughts down on the web – again.
So around the week of the triduum, lots of people talk about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It is fitting of course, because the paschal mystery is at the root of our Christian faith as Catholics. But when you think about the rest of the world, what do they see when they see Jesus? All the talk of his sacrifice at this time of year and people may see Jesus of Nazareth as simply a man who died for a cause, a cause that is carried on by his followers. At other times of the year, even many Christians don’t even acknowledge the passion of Christ, as though somehow it casts doubt on the reality of his resurrection. Remember, dear brothers and sisters, there is no resurrection celebration without the passion, death, and burial of our Lord. They are one spectacular act of love and power that cannot be segmented.
There are many things that the world can appreciate about the sacrifice of Christ. After all, martyrs are celebrated through all of history. Brave men, women and children, who have given their lives for a cause. Even notorious bandits are celebrated. So what’s the difference with Jesus?
Think about a couple of things with me. If you read the readings from John at Mass, then you know how St John the Evangelist gave special attention to reminding us of a few things.
1. Jesus was arraigned and brought up on capital crimes not because He was a revolutionary, but because “he made himself the Son of God.” This was not because he healed, or fed, or taught. No. Everybody loved all that. It was when he forgave sins that everyone got upset. “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Well, in curing the paralytic, Jesus showed not only that He had the power to heal, but the power to forgive sins BECAUSE He is God. Well, we can’t have someone claiming to be God running around now can we? Don’t get bent out of shape by all the sermons and lessons painting Jesus as being crucified because he was usurping power and influence from the Judean leadership. They were putting Jesus to death because he equated himself with God. Wouldn’t you do the same thing? The difference with Jesus is that he IS the Messiah the prophets foretold. That’s what we believe as Catholics.
2. Jesus was killed in the presence of many witnesses. Not only did they witness his brutal torture, his agonizing and humiliating march to his own death, but also the piercing of a lance to ensure his demise was certain. Those who might wish to claim that Jesus had merely swooned (which is impossible in a crucifixion because you suffocate once your muscles give out) were given ample reasons to believe he was dead. The spear sealed the evidence.
3. Jesus was placed in a tomb that was sealed and guarded to prevent grave robbery. Moving that stone would be no small feat, especially for a bunch of guys who didn’t even stay around after Jesus was arrested. Who is going to move it, a few women? Doubtful. Plus, there were guards of the cohort watching and fully armed. Nobody was stealing the body without a lot of evidence and witnesses.
4. After Jesus’s resurrection, the women were dispatched to tell the disciples that they would see Jesus. Not only did they see him. They saw Jesus for 40 days. Guess who else would have seen him? All sorts of people. Not only did they see the resurrected Jesus, but also many saints who came from their graves “in the sight of many witnesses”.
So what is the difference? The resurrection demonstrates Jesus is God. He was truly killed, buried, sealed, and guarded. He not only rose from the dead, but stuck around long enough that more than just his band of close followers saw him, heard him, and touched him. He even ate with them. This is the Lord we worship as Catholics. Not just a teacher. Not just a martyr. Not just a nice guy. Jesus is God and his resurrection gives us hope for our own resurrection and eternal life in Heaven.
Men, take this faith and let it swell up within you. Tell your children. Tell your wife. Jesus is risen. Jesus is Lord.
Posted on April 20, 2014, in Catholic Belief, Catholic Manliness, Christology and tagged Catholic, catholic faith, Catholic men, crucifixion, easter vigil, jesus christ, manliness, resurrection of jesus. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.