Presentata Curia 24th April 2014

Allocutio: They bowed down and worshipped him.

Some have suggested that Christ survived the Cross and that explains the Resurrection. They put him into the tomb where he resuscitated and so made an appearance before he disappeared and kept quiet in case he was put through that again.

Well, I can tell you this that if a small fracture in your wrist can knock you out for weeks and disable you what level of incapacity would anyone have who had nails smashed through his hands and feet and was made hang on a cross for over three hours, not to mention the effects of the scourging and the lance through the side. Even had he just somehow survived the crucifixion anyone who had been through what he had would not have been full of life on Easter morn, just could not appear as a healthy gardener or been able to walk along any road to any Emmaus. They would have been in some form of ICU with tubes and life support systems trying to keep them going. They would have been like poor Michael Schumacher, and would take months to recover. I’ve seen people in horrible road accidents who take years to recover. And someone who had been through such a psychological storm would not at all so immediately be able to forgive and say with joy, “Peace”!

Those women who went to the tomb instinctively knew they were seeing something incredible. What they were seeing did not belong to this world. They were not looking at anyone who just about escaped dying and had somehow recovered from physical and psychological trauma of a horrific event that had left them for dead. They were in utter awe of something utterly inexplicable. They know they were looking at God. And so they bowed down and worshipped him.

In fact Our Lady, The Magdalene and the other women knew very well he was dead. So they knew well that what they met was not of this world. They bowed down and worshipped him.

Oh that we could ourselves just realise the utter awesomeness of God. We stay with the experiences of the senses of this life and focus on the here and now and the next step. But if we only stood back and thought of the wonder of our being, of our very existence, of the fact that we enter a world already there and not of our making and that we will someday leave it and it will carry on without us; if we thought of the great ongoing miracle of the chain of life in which we all partake with all living creatures and which is there without us making it; if we could only get our heads around the gigantic nature of what we already know about and just acknowledge that there is Someone far bigger and greater than we are who holds everything in view and is taking account of responses.

It is the evidence of many that he does take account of our pleadings, indeed if made through his mother they seem to be even more greatly responded to. The other day I was in a garden cutting grass that had not been cut for the winter. The grass was long and as you all know such grass is always messy. And I wondered as I clipped the edges if some baby birds might be hidden in it. Then the thought came to me: had there been baby birds I would have known all about it. The parents would have been chirping like mad at me, attempting to drive me off or distract me. And I would have heard their plea and backed off.

Now our prayers to God would be like those of parent birds who try to plead for their babies. One lower species beseeching a higher-order creature. As Jesus said, “How much more will your heavenly Father answer you if you pray to him from your heart. . .”. This is another reason for us to be in awe, that God does respond to prayers and that so many people who have persevered have seen the miraculous, things that are just not explainable by human reasoning. And as I said if made through Mary they seem to get bumped up the line.

There is something else if we could just stand back and look at it. It is this that in life there seems to be in built a capacity to recover and overcome past damage and a going forward with new hope. Pope Francis says “When all seems to be dead, signs of the resurrection suddenly spring up. It is an irresistible force. Often it seems that God does not exist: all around us we see persistent injustice, evil, indifference, and cruelty. But it is always true that in the midst of darkness something new always springs to life and sooner or later produces fruit”. He mentions life breaking out on razed land, like Krakatoa. He mentions goodness always re-emerging and spreading. An example might be the rejuvenation of Europe after the wars. But even when there seems to be moral decay “Values always tend to reappear under new guises and human beings have arisen time after time from situations that seemed doomed. Such is the power of the Resurrection” (EG 276).

And so he appeals to us to believe the Gospel when it tells us that the Kingdom of God is already present in this world and is growing, here and there, and in different ways, like the small seed which becomes a great tree or even like the good seed that grows in the midst of the weeds and can always pleasantly surprise us.

Another great reality that illustrates this is the very Church itself that has survived attack from without and own-goals from within. It is quite extraordinary that a particular group of people should have held together over the years despite all this and till be strong. For we are! That too is another basis for our wonder at the power of the Lord.

If only we could stand back and see that despite its dark moments and our own failures humanity and Christ’s Church bounces back and advances all the time. This is a mystery we should also be in awe of. And I’ll end with this quote from Pope Francis: “Christ’s resurrection everywhere calls forth seeds of that new world: even if they are cut back, they grow again, for the resurrection is already secretly woven into the fabric of history, for Jesus did not rise in vain.”

And as the Pope says: we dare not stand on the sidelines of what is going on. Let’s become people of the Resurrection and the renewal of humanity. In other words, don’t let any discouragement get hold of you. All that you put in will bear fruit.

And if we turn to her who facilitated the miracle of the wine at Cana let there be no doubt at all.
Amen.
Fr Paul Churchill


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