More years ago than I care to remember, I sat quietly in a Church on Easter morning. The first thing I remember hearing was a booming voice singing a cappella version of David Haas' "Song of the Risen One." It was the opening line that grabbed my attention and focused my prayer for the rest of the Mass: "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here. He has been raised to new life."
The song says "He has been raised to new life" but the homilist emphasized that He is risen.
He is risen! The crux of our faith in a nutshell. Not he has risen. Jesus' resurrection is not an event that happened in the past and remains in the past. It is not an allegorical story. Rather the resurrection is an event that has lasting implications for us today, and every day, as we strive to live as disciples in our world now.
Fr. Barron does an excellent job of outlining the uniqueness of the resurrection story compared to mythological stories precisely because it is historically rooted in a time and place.
Barron also highlights two important revelations of Christ's resurrection. First the narrative challenges our understanding of violence and peace in the world. Despite his death through the violence of crucifixion, despite the abandonment of all his followers, Jesus returns to offer his peace (John 20:19b), a peace that is deeper lasting than any peace the world offers (John 14:27).
There are a number of nonviolence movements that are rooted in Christianity. Author Richard Rohr is the founder of one such movement, the Centre for Action and Contemplation. He has written an excellent succinct article discussing the peace that Jesus Christ's resurrection brings to the world.
The second point that Barron makes is that through the Resurrection God says Amen to the world. This is an affirmation that God saw that it is good. This world matters. What happens in the world matters. How we treat our world matters. Care for creation matters.
Whether or not we, or our brothers and sisters, are treated with dignity matters. Whether or not we, or our sisters and brothers, have food or clothing matters. Whether or not we, or our sisters and brothers, have safe shelter matters. Movements, such as Development and Peace that allow us to continue supporting those who are less fortunate than ourselves matter.
He is risen!
And we need to continue to wrestle with the implications of this statement. He is risen and therefore Christ is in our midst. We don't need to make Christ present in the world. Christ is present in the world. As baptized Christians we are tied to Christ. We are called to be a part of Christ's healing and saving presence in the world. Our mission as Church is to bring about the healing and salvation of the world. We are to be witnesses to the resurrection in all that we do.
He is risen! What are the implications of this awareness for you and your students?
Annette Donovan Panchaud
King's University College