Easter Sunday (José Antonio Pagola)

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Faith in Jesus whom the Father raised from the dead did not spring up naturally and spontaneously in the hearts of the disciples. Before meeting him fully alive, the Gospel writers speak about their disorientation, their queries about the theme of the tomb, their questions and uncertainties.

Mary of Magdala is the best prototype of what probably is everyone’s experience. According to John’s account, she looks for the Crucified amidst darkness, while it was still dark. Naturally, she looks for him in the tomb. She still does not know that death has been vanquished. That is why the empty tomb leaves her bewildered. She feels lost without Jesus.

The other Gospel writers preserve another tradition that describes the search on the part of the whole group of women. They cannot forget the Teacher who has welcomed them as disciples; their love brings them to the tomb. They do not find Jesus there, but they hear the message that indicates to them where their search should be oriented: Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but he has been raised.

Faith in the risen Christ does not arise spontaneously in us either today, just because we have listened from childhood to catechists and preachers. In order to be open to faith in Jesus’ resurrection, we have to make our own journey. It is decisive not to forget Jesus, to love him passionately and to seek him with all our strength, but not in the world of the dead. We should seek the living one where there is life.

If we want to meet the risen Christ, full of life and creative energy, we must look for him, not in a dead religion, reduced to performance and observance of external laws and norms, but there where people live according to the Spirit of Jesus, welcomed by his followers with faith, with love and with responsibility.

We have to look for him not among divided Christians who engage in competitions that are unproductive and devoid of love for Jesus and of passion for the Gospel. Rather, we should look for him where we keep building communities that put Christ at the center because they know that where two or three are gathered together in his name, there is he in the midst of them.

We will not meet the living one in a stagnant and routine faith, worn out by clichés and formulas far-removed from experience, but in seeking to bring new quality to our relationship with him and to our identification with his project. A burn-out and passive Jesus who neither enamors nor seduces, who does not touch hearts or spread freedom, is a “dead Jesus.” He is not the living Christ that the Father raised from the dead. He is not the one who lives and gives life.

March 27, 2016
Easter Sunday
John 20, 1-9

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