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Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Challenge of Easter

For John, BLUFIt isn't really about bunnies and Easter eggs.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Father James Martin, Editor of the Jesuit Magazine America gives us, in of all places, The Wall Street Journal, "The Challenge of Easter"/

Here is the sub-headline:

Whether you’re a believer or not, there is no way to ignore the radical claim of the Resurrection
The author starts out with a comparison between Christmas and Easter.  He notes:  "Easter has resisted the commercialization and commodification that have distorted the celebration of Christmas."  Then we get this series of paragraphs:
If you believe that Jesus rose from the dead, however, everything changes.  In that case, you cannot set aside any of his teachings.  Because a person who rises from the grave, who demonstrates his power over death and who has definitively proven his divine authority needs to be listened to.  What that person says demands a response.

In short, the Resurrection makes a claim on you.

This is unlike Christmas.  To be clear, Christians believe that, at the first Christmas, God became human.  This is the meaning of what theologians call the “Incarnation.” God took on flesh, a concept as bizarre then as now.

But the Christmas story is largely nonthreatening to nonbelievers: Jesus in the manger, surrounded by Mary and Joseph and the adoring shepherds, is easy to take.  As the Gospels of Matthew and Luke recount, there was no little danger involved for Mary and Joseph.  But for the most part, it can be accepted as a charming story.  Even nonbelievers might appreciate the birth of a great teacher.

By contrast, the Easter story is both appalling and astonishing: the craven betrayal of Jesus by one of his closest followers, the triple denial by his best friend, the gruesome crucifixion and the brutal end to his earthly life. Then, of course, there is the stunning turnaround three days later.

But, for Christians, this is the money paragraph (so to speak):
Easter says, above all, that Jesus Christ is Lord. That is an odd thing to read in a secular newspaper.  But I’m merely stating a central Christian belief.  And if he is Lord, and if you’re a Christian, then what he says has a claim on you.  His teachings are invitations, to be sure, but they are also commands:  Love your neighbors.  Forgive.  Care for the poor and the marginalized.  Live a simple life.  Put the needs of others before your own.
As Father Sannella's Homily on Holy Saturday Evening Mass notes, we have our problems living up to what we should be, but we are working on doing it right.  Holy Mother the Church is our place of refuge.

You pray for me and I will pray for you.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

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