16 April 2017

Are you firmly in his grasp?

Easter Morning 2017
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
St. Dominic Priory, NOLA

Mary of Magdala sees that the stone has been moved, and she is confused. Peter and the other disciples race to the tomb to see for themselves. They do not understand either. The tomb is empty. Nothing is left behind but his burial cloths. One believes but the others remain perplexed. Despite having spent three years with Jesus as his disciples, most of them do not yet understand the bare reality of Christ's resurrection, much less do they comprehend the radical transformation of human history that his resurrection initiates. Mary and the other disciples are standing on the ground, the very spot where Divine Love and human nature meet – in person – to heal the ancient rift btw God and Man. It all starts in a manger and comes to its climax some thirty years later in a grave. Though the salvation of all creation is not yet complete, everything necessary is firmly in place. When we do our small part, when we come to “understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead,” we arrive at that very spot and begin our own participation in what's to come. What's coming? Paul says, “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.” 
Christ's resurrection from the tomb and his eventual ascension is the promised sign to us that we too will be given new life after death. Pope Benedict gives us a clue how this will happen, “. . .[his] Resurrection has reached us and seized us. We grasp hold of it, we grasp hold of the risen Lord, and we know that he holds us firmly even when our hands grow weak.” The whole purpose of the resurrection is to bring all of creation back to the Father. What does that mean for us now? BXVI says, “We grasp hold of his hand, and thus we also hold on to one another’s hands, and we become one single subject. . .” All that grasping and hand-holding, all the following along and behind, the “one single subject” is the Church, the Body of Christ – here on Earth now but heading toward resurrection and ascension. Our minute-by-minute task is to stay resolutely within the Body of Christ, doing, saying, thinking with the Church so that we do not let go of his hand. If you will be raised with Christ, then seek always what is above. Live now with Christ. He has you firmly in his grasp!

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