RESURRECTION: AN EVENT AFTER DEATH OR A LIFE STYLE?
Resurrection is the Solemnity of the Great Passover from the old to the new religious understanding that Jesus established through his life and teachings. On this day it would be good to reflect on an episode in the Gospel of John – the conversation between Martha and Jesus. To the lament of Martha at the death of her brother Lazarus Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11, 25-26) Here we note that Jesus says, ‘I am the resurrection’. Therefore our question is: is ‘resurrection’ an event after death or a life style? Jesus says, ‘everyone who lives and believes in me will never die’! What does he mean by ‘life’ and ‘death’ in this episode?
Catholic Church teaches that by the reception of the Sacrament of Baptism a faithful dies with Jesus Christ to the world and starts to live a life of the resurrection. In the ancient Christian communities, during the rite of Baptism, the faithful was dipped into the water three times to indicate three days of Jesus in the tomb. Like Jesus was risen from the tomb, the baptized is rising from the water to participate in the glorious life of Jesus oriented towards the resurrection. Paul explains clearly what should be the style of life of a baptized Christian to participate in the resurrection of Jesus Christ: “…if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Col 3, 1-3)
It is clear from the teaching of Paul that ‘life’ in the New Testament means a life in the world oriented to God and his eternity. Consequently a person who lives setting his mind on the things that are on earth does not live. According to the teachings of Jesus a person lives truly a human life only when he donates his life for the birth and growth of others. This is what he explained with the parable of the grain of wheat. One who sets his mind on earth is an egocentric person who lives only for himself at the cost of others. Rather a person who is oriented to God and eternity will participate in the life of Jesus Christ sharing his life for the others like Sun shine and rain. This is the life of the resurrection and this is what Jesus intended when he said to Martha: ‘I am the resurrection and life’. When they heard about the empty tomb Peter and John, who were lethargic and dormant, are full of energy and they run to the tomb of Jesus with curiosity, anxiety and joy! We see a change of mind from the laziness and inferiority complex which are the outcome of self-centeredness to a dynamism of faith, hope and love even forgetting the personal limitations and the fatigue. We soon remember the journey of our Blessed Mother to Elizabeth in haste. In this world of Easter joy people are in haste and full of enthusiasm to serve one another because they share in their mind the vision of Jesus in the hope of the eternal glory.
On the occasion of the annual Easter celebration we renew our baptismal vows and decide to live a life oriented to God and eternity. Let us accept the exhortation of Paul and live a hidden life in this world with Jesus Christ. (Colossians 3, 3) In his Letter to Philippines he gives more explanation on how to live a hidden life with Jesus Christ: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave …” ( Phil 2, 3-7) We are to decide to get out of our laziness and inferiority complex and are to occupy our time and energy to do some good for ourselves and others. Thus, the peace and the joy of the life of Jesus Christ will remain with us always.Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest