Friday, April 02, 2010

Easter 2010 - Finding the risen Christ among us

He rose from the dead, lives in our midst, never to die again.

Easter commemorates one of the greatest mysteries of our faith - the resurrection of Jesus which the Church says is the very foundation of Christianity. His resurrection might have taken place more than 2000 years ago but how does that affect us today in this highly materialistic world driven by greed, pride and lust? As we celebrate Easter it may be good for us to reflect on what Christ's resurrection really means to us in a world where the very existence of God is being questioned by many.

A lawyer friend, a staunch catholic for many years, wanted proof for the resurrection of Christ. He went all over looking for scientific evidence to proof the resurrection did indeed took place. He subsequently left the Church as he could not be convinced of the truth of the resurrection. In fact the number of Catholics who “lose their faith” for these reasons is on the rise. What they have believed all these years out of faith does not seem logical to their minds anymore. Today man has so advanced in science and technology that he insists on evidence before he accepts anything as the truth, especially those that are supernatural in nature.

Gone are the days when he is willing to accept anything based just on faith and tradition? God’s gift to man – his inquisitive and intellectual mind had brought great advancements to the human race but many a time it also worked to his detriment when he misuses it for his selfish needs.

Jesus rising majestically

The Resurrection, as we were taught, is Jesus Christ’s return to life on the third day after his death. To my mind there are two aspects to this resurrection, physical and spiritual. The problem is that from an early age we have been taught to believe that resurrection is just the bodily rising of Jesus after death. The image of Jesus majestically rising bodily into the heavens had been vividly imprinted in our minds since we were children. We have been carried away by the over-emphasis on these physical aspects of the Resurrection. Our ideas of resurrection should instead mature when we grow older in wisdom with Christ.

There are many documented signs that suggest Jesus did rise from the dead but there is no conclusive scientific evidence to prove the physical resurrection of Jesus. In fact there are many who are bent on proving that the resurrection of Jesus is a myth with no scientific evidence whatsoever. They are hoping that new discoveries based on modern DNA studies as described in “The Lost Tomb of Jesus” may give weight to discredit the truth of the resurrection.

Our believe in the resurrection is based on the teachings of the early Church which was inherited from the Apostles who were convinced beyond doubt from the testimonies from eye witnesses then. Controversies continue as to the reliability of these testimonies. However to me that is the least important and it would be improper for us to base our faith solely on the resurrection and other such supernatural events which cannot stand the test of time. We know for sure that Jesus was true and his death was also true .Above all his teachings were absolutely true and never flawed even with the passage of time.

While we cannot scientifically prove the physical resurrection but we can definitely beyond doubt testify the spiritual resurrection of Jesus. Yes, he died but yet we know for sure he is alive and present in our midst. We witness his presence daily in our lives; the air we breathe, the water we drink and the people we meet. He is there in all the challenges, trials and tribulations we encounter.

Very often we either do not recognize or we are too arrogant and ignore his presence in our midst. We expect Him to come in majesty to work miracles to help us overcome our difficulties and we become disappointed and disillusioned when he doesn’t. As a result we lose our faith in him. Little do we realize that he comes simply in impoverished people, the beggar, the sinner, the sick and dying, the hungry, the naked, the depressed and the oppressed and most recently in the priests and victims of the clergy sex abuse. We fail to realise that we are his “miracle workers” to alleviate the pain and agony of such people in our midst.

It is the experience of unselfish love for one another that resembles the mystery of the Resurrection of Christ. It is something that is beyond reason, beyond replication, beyond scientific fact? It is in this love that the risen Christ dwells and if we cultivate this love for one another in our hearts then His resurrection is true which needs no human proof.

Yes, truly Jesus has risen from the dead, lives in our midst, and never to die again. All we need to do is to be humble enough to seek him in our hearts and in the hearts of those around us and we will surely find the risen Christ.

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