A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Monday, March 28, 2005

Was it real?

Having just celebrated yesterday the glorious resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and hearing in today’s first reading (from Acts 2) St. Peter’s powerful first proclamation on Pentecost of that resurrection, we find today’s Gospel (Mt. 28:8-15) ending on an odd note: telling of conspiracies and rumors that deny the reality of all of this.

Some of us get uncomfortable when other people deny the historicity of what we believe.

When we were children, we may have thought that everyone believed the same things we do, except for those people far away that the missionaries hadn’t reached yet.

Then we may have heard our Jewish grade school classmate talk about his faith, the teacher who called himself “agnostic,” the loud person who denounced as our faith as evil, or the college professor who derided any and all religious belief.

We want them to believe as we do. We quite rightly want them to acknowledge the truth: what really happened and the way things really are.

We look through the Bible and the teaching of the Church. We bone up on apologetics and historical data, looking for that “slam dunk” that will make these people believe.

Sometimes they see the light, sometimes we fight to a draw, and sometimes we end with the feeling that they had the better of us in the argument.

St. Paul puts it all into perspective:

My message and my proclamation
were not with persuasive (words of) wisdom,
but with a demonstration of spirit and power,
so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom
but on the power of God.
1 Corinthians 2:4-5

Faith, ultimately, is a gift from God. We can and must be his instruments - channels of his message, his love, his spirit, and his power - but ultimately what is important, what is salvific, is not so much that other people believe us, but that they believe in Christ.

That is not to say that faith is brain dead - au contraire. Indeed, St. Paul goes on to say:

Yet we do speak a wisdom to those who are mature,
but not a wisdom of this age,
nor of the rulers of this age who are passing away.
Rather, we speak God's wisdom, mysterious, hidden,
which God predetermined before the ages for our glory,
and which none of the rulers of this age knew;
for if they had known it,
they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
1 Corinthians 2:6-8

Yes, the resurrection of Jesus Christ was and is real. It is historical (unless one redefines “historical” to mean something different from way most people define it).

The evidence is very strong, but it by no means eliminates the need for the grace of faith, and that is as it should be, for the dry details of historical information alone will not light a flame in one’s heart that can shine for all eternity.

Merely knowing about the resurrection of Jesus pales into dusty insignificance compared to the everlasting comfort and ecstasy of actually knowing Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord: having him in one’s heart, walking through life with him at one’s side, luxuriating in the many graces he showers on his faithful ones in the Sacraments and so many other ways.

Yes, it’s real. Christ is risen. Jesus lives eternally and he is always holding us in his loving embrace.