Jesus Is Asking You… (Part IV 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 III, we reflected on seeing and living life with resurrected eyes, the reality of Jesus for all humanity, and what makes us Christian. In today’s final installment, we will examine who some of the witnesses of the Resurrection are today, how it is essential to come to terms with the Resurrection, and why Jesus rose from the dead.
Witnesses of the Resurrection
In my priesthood, my life as a man has all of its meaning rooted in His Resurrection. As a priest, what good do I serve humanity if He didn’t come back from the dead? People see me as a counselor, a social worker. I am a parish priest for a parish in downtown Columbus, we have the state of Ohio’s largest soup kitchen. We serve anywhere from 570 to 870 meals a day. So sometimes people look at me as if I am a glorified, chaste social worker. I am going to tell you right now, the pay really stinks if all I am is a social worker. But, I am not to be viewed as a social worker or a teacher. I am to be viewed as a witness of the Resurrection.
Sometimes young women will tell me their parents say being a sister is a waste of a life. Well, if the life of a sister is a waste, then that means that Jesus did not come back from the dead. The truth is that the value of a consecrated religious is beyond description. They offer us in the here and now a witness to how we will all live in the world to come.
When humanity starts to turn inward and turn away from the Lord that is when He asks the question, “Who do you say that I am?” Before we can really dare to answer that question, we have to be honest with ourselves, we have to acknowledge that He came back from the dead. And many times that acknowledgment of His Resurrection takes place within the context of a struggle within the family, a breakdown in our prayer life, trying to figure out who we are and what we are supposed to do to be successful….all of the struggles which take place within the world.
Coming to Terms with the Resurrection
Coming to terms with the idea of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead is something that must take place. If He really rose from the dead, we need to be on fire, we have to stop trying to fit into a world that doesn’t acknowledge Him. If I have two groups to try and please, the Trinity on one hand and everyone else on the other, guess who is going to lose. Everybody else. I will not let them keep me from heaven. The Lord is the one who has extended an invitation for everlasting and enduring life. No one else has. Whenever we encounter someone who poses a very strong challenge to our faith, especially if they are filled with angst, maybe even anger, or God forbid hate, we can diffuse it with a good dose of humor. Just say, “You know, I understand that you’ve got issues, you’re in turmoil, you disagree. It all comes back to this basic point…you die, wait three days and come back on your own and I will hear you out. Until then, I am following the One who did.”
Why Jesus Rose from the Dead
There were moments in time where He brought others back from the dead: the son of the widow, the daughter of Jairus, his cousin Lazarus. But notice that He brought them back from the dead. In His Resurrection, He came back on His own. There weren’t doctors and nurses there with paddles shocking Him. There wasn’t anyone there assisting Him up out of the tomb. He came back from the dead on His own to prove a point…that He loves.
All He asks in return is that we love Him. And in the exchange of that love we start to realize that that which is normal is determined not by we, who are mortal, but rather by the Lord who is infinite. Whenever we struggle with the discipline of His love, whenever we struggle with the discipline of the Church that He created, let’s always come back to the Resurrection. And seek to ask of the Lord in His mercy and in His goodness, “How does all of this tie into Your Resurrection? How am I called to sing the glory of Your Resurrection?”
As we carry on that conversation with the Lord Jesus Christ, we will start to acknowledge that He is more real than even we are. His love is far greater than our love is. To be in His presence, even if just for one moment, is better than to be anywhere else for thousands of years. He is not talking to someone else, He is not hunting down someone else, He is with me. And just as much as He wants me, I know He wants my loved ones. And so we share His Resurrection with those we love. We offer as a witness to them, all that we have, all that we are, and finally the ability to say who He is in response to the question, “Who do you say that I am?”