On Faith: On Easter Sunday, Jesus is risen!

April 23, 2011|By Msgr. Wilbur Davis

The Resurrection of Jesus is, for the Christian, the essential key for understanding just about everything, not only specifically "religious" matters. The Easter event announces that death and all the ways of death have been defeated.

Jesus took death into the tomb. He was raised to life, and so death's grip on the world has been broken.

Backing up, we must ask what it is that went so wretchedly wrong that the crowds who joyously welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, laying before him branches and their cloaks, would several days later cry out, "crucify Him."


Why do we call that day "Good" Friday?

Messianic expectations were in the air as they had periodically been through the ages, but each generation defined their hope in pragmatic, nationalistic terms, usually as the overthrow of whatever was then their oppressive burden.

Perhaps Jesus was the one who would cast that off and usher in the new era, they thought. But when he acted in accordance with the Father's vision rather than the crowds', he became vulnerable to the treacherous machinations of those for whom he was an inconvenience.

The high priest Caiaphas and certain other religious leaders, who exploited religion as a power over people, were offended by Jesus, who presented authentic Jewish faith as conversion from religious formalism to living the values he proclaimed in the Sermon on the Mount. The local Roman authorities, insecure in their roles as puppet dictators, regarded Jesus as one who put at risk their fragile relationship with Rome. It was agreed, Jesus had to be removed if the status quo was to be maintained.

Collusion between church and state were joined. It was the few, not the Jewish people as a whole, who brought about the horrors of Calvary; but by alliances with darkness could not destroy the one who is Light and Life.

Martha, the dear friend of Jesus, approaching the tomb, was startled and confused to discover there not a corpse but the risen Jesus who spoke to her gentle words of peace, consolation and instruction. Two thousand years later the Christian community continues to explore the depths of this singular event that divides history into "before" and "after." The Resurrection changes forever the way we live in this world.

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles