Presentata Curia 27th March 2008

Allocutio: Resurrection

I've been thinking about Resurrection and what it might mean. Is it just a theory in a book or a dream? But if you look closely around you will see the signs that it is not an utterly stupid idea.

There is one miracle in your life already. A real miracle. And you are the recipient of it. And that is your existence. Go back so many years and you just didn't exist. You weren't there at all. Then you suddenly came into existence and your memory will tell you your first recalls of consciousness. And now you have life, can get involved with people, contribute and receive. And you can look around and wonder and marvel and praise for all there is. Now that very fact that you came from nothing and now exist begins the basis on which we can dare hope in Resurrection and a new life form beyond this. Which would be easier: to make something out of nothing or to transform something from one level of existence to a higher one? Surely if God can make out of nothing he can raise what is to a higher form?

And the world we live in is full of signs of things that change from one form to another. St Augustine for example when speaking about the wedding miracle at Cana says why should we be surprised that God can do that when year in year out he changes the rains into vines? What about the transforming of the mere matter of the earth into grass, and then that into cow's milk and that into us humans? Or what of the change modern science shows us when matter is radically changed into energy as the phenomenon of electricity shows us. In other words God has made a world that is capable of being upgraded to new forms. So again there is evidence that Resurrection is not mere pie in the sky. If only we look at things the right way we will see that Resurrection is on the cards.

But Our Lord warns us: the way is the way of the Cross. Should we be surprised? All growth involves pain. There is no other way for us humans. Birth is a difficult moment for mother and for child. Cutting teeth can be painful for us but it is a sign of growth. Learning relationships can involve pain but it can also be a sign of growth. And suffering and death are no different. A growth into eternal life is going on. It is staring us in the face.

However there is a shadow and it is that of sin. Sin has interrupted the movement towards the fullness of life God offers us. It has set us back as individuals, families, communities and humanity. Take the disciples who were on the road to Emmaus. They were dispirited by the great sin of the Cross. They had hoped Jesus would have saved Israel. The bad decision of their leaders had caused them pain. They knew the good in Jesus, they found it hard to understand how he could have been so cruelly dealt with. And so they stood with their heads down. A life that had been growing in them had been severely knocked. That is what sin does. It either slows down, stops or drives back people. What has the whole war effort in Iraq done if not leave tens of thousands dead and caused huge destruction by weapons build to destroy and not build up. And let me add that if you put billions into war is it any surprise the economy shows trouble back home?

What we are celebrating these days is Christ taking all this on and undoing it and setting humanity back on its original road to eternal life. And he is lifting us out of the discouragement of sin and telling us to get on with the job again. Like he did to the disciples on that road to Emmaus. “Did not our hearts burn in us?” Hear their life coming back. And note how with that life coming back they offer him to stay with them the night and offer him hospitality. In other words charity is enkindled in them and charity will always be the sign of a soul enflamed by Christ.

This is the work of the Risen Lord for us all, to lift us out of the depression of sin and put us back on the road to our destiny. Sure, it will be a struggle at times as we confront some evil tendencies in ourselves or have to battle them in others. But our job is to work confidently for the Kingdom knowing that it will come about and cannot be stopped. His overcoming of death and his Resurrection is the great proof of that. And the main thing is to keep close to him always. Like the two disciples of that road to Emmaus let's allow his word into our hearts, let's nourish ourselves with the presence of the Eucharist.

Our Lady too shows us by her example. She kept very close to him and was there in his most trying moments. She will say to us: stay with the Cross if it comes to you. It will pain a while but it will be transformed into joy for you. And in all circumstances live by the way of charity which is the opposite to sin, even when sin is doing its utmost to break you. And even should you fall do not lose confidence in my Son who has come to lift you up anytime you do fall.

So as we celebrate Easter let's lift our hearts. Our Resurrection is assured. And let's not be bowed down by any sins, whether out there beyond us or in our own lives. Just let us follow Christ and stay with him and leave the rest in his hands.
Fr Paul Churchill

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