Jesus Is Asking You… (Part III of IV)
Either He Rose From the Dead…Or He Didn’t
Excerpts from the Weekend Retreat Talks of Father Stash Dailey
Editor’s Note: In Part II, we examined Christ’s question today and the impact of the Resurrection. Today, we will reflect on seeing and living life with resurrected eyes, the reality of Jesus for all humanity, and what makes us Christian.
Seeing and Living Life with Resurrected Eyes
Those of us who bear witness to Jesus Christ risen from the dead have an understanding of reality which gives us courage and faith, fortitude, life itself, and even love in the face of events that others find absolutely destructive. Where others find only darkness and despair and turmoil, the Christian sees the light of Christ shining through and this gives us the opportunity to be at peace, to be truly tranquil and to realize that everything is in God’s hands. He will bring something good and beautiful out of even the darkest moments.
Our encounter with Jesus Christ risen from the dead is something that has to once again be at the center of our proclamation of Jesus to the world. All too often, over the past few years, we Catholic Christians in the United States of America have been really in the center of the limelight of the ethical and moral debates of our country, especially as we proceed towards universal healthcare. We are being labeled as a cast of people who have an archaic morality. People begin to identify our morality as who we are, but they don’t see that what we do and how we live is because of Who we have encountered.
A Reality for All Humanity
Jesus Christ risen from the dead is not a reality that is just real for Catholic Christians. It is real for all of humanity. And it belongs to all of humanity because all of humanity is called to benefit from His Resurrection. God loves everyone. God loves every single human heart He has ever willed into existence. And when Jesus Christ came back from the dead, He came back from the dead for everyone.
Those who dare to acknowledge the truth of His Resurrection then also have the beautiful burden, the beautiful responsibility of sharing the truth of the Resurrection of Jesus with those who we love, those we know, those we meet. Many of us carry the great weight and burden of a broken heart, seeing that our spouses, our children, our parents, our siblings, our neighbors struggle with their faith or perhaps have even left the faith. What do we say to bring them back? What prayer do we pray?
All of us gravitate towards something simple and easy to do to make it work. We always want the perfect little formula to follow. Usually what I offer first in response is not consoling but hopefully in a while it will bear fruit. Whenever the moment arises within God’s providence, you let your loved one know that either Jesus came back from the dead or He didn’t.
Don’t weigh your experience of the faith on our morality first, or on the unfolding of the Holy Mass first, the celibacy of the priest, the male-only dimension of the priesthood, the habits of the sisters, or even on the experience of particular devotions or prayers, practices or disciplines. Don’t weigh the faith on those things first. Experience faith first as an experience of Jesus Christ risen from the dead.
What Makes Us Christians?
The totality of who we are as Catholic Christians is rooted first and foremost in the reality that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. There have been many, many, many good men and women who have lived in this world and who yearned to have people follow them so they created groups, they created schools, they created cults, they created movements. But none of them have come back from the dead on their own. Our Lord Jesus Christ has laid a claim on the heart of humanity in a way that no one else has. The Resurrection has to be central to who we are as Christians and how we live as Christians.
Editor’s Note: In Part IV, we will look at the witnesses of the Resurrection, coming to terms with the Resurrection and why it is that Jesus rose from the dead.
Art for this post on Jesus is Asking You… (Part III of IV): Mosaik mit wiederauferstandenem Christus [Mosaic showing the resurrection of Christ] San Martino della Battaglia (Italy) Ossuary, Beinhaus, 1880, own work Wolfgang Sauber, 23 July 2012, PD-US, Wikimedia Commons.