Tuesday, April 6, 2010

From Death to Life

If the Jewish Passover is the celebration-remembrance of the historical and heroic deeds that provided the liberation to the Old Testament peoples who were under the power of the Egyptians, the Christian Easter is the celebration-remembrance of another historical moment: Christ’s Resurrection in the life of Christians.

Any happening that is recorded and verifiable in the world of man and that occurred in a determined space/time and had man as its subject is considered a “historical deed”. This is precisely the case of THE RESURRECTION: a recorded happening during a determined space/time, more than 2000 years ago. It occurred in the life of the first men and women –the first Christians— whose lives the “Crucified” changed in such a manner that they went to the courageous evangelization of that kerigma (first announcement) throughout the known world and, because of it, to martyrdom (Acts 2.14ff).

Since the Resurrection happened and it is verified in the transformation of life, to a new life, as repeated so many times by the Apostle Paul about the first Christians (2 Co. 5.17). In other words, it is the new and transformed life of the first Christians caused by the Crucified which gives historical testimony of the living presence of Christ amidst Christians, in his Church and in the world.

Therefore, the Resurrection of Christ is not a literary myth, a fairy tale, a legend, nor a metaphysical deception. On the contrary, the Resurrection of Christ is a historical fact; it is tangible, unquestionable, and verifiable in every man and/or woman; and from the very first days of the Church (and until today) transforms the lives of those who have had an encounter with the Gospel of Christ and the “new man” proposal which it contains. The Resurrection of Christ occurred--and continues occurring--each time a person “renews his/her mind” (Rom 12.2), and configures his/her life following the lifestyle, the principles and the values lived and preached by Christ in the Gospel.

This mind renovation, this new criterion, this new life is what makes it possible for us to go to God “the Father” (Rom 5.5.; Gal 4.6) and to live the same life as Christ, until we are able to say as Paul said: “it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.” In other words our “life”: is the life of children of God and brothers and sisters to all. Then, happy and confident we can say that we “are no longer slaves, but children” (Gal 4.7), and that to be free Christ gave us freedom (Gal 4.31). Also because of this John says that “We know that we have left death and come over into life; we know it because we love others.” (1 Jn 3.14). On the other hand, if we are not capable of recognizing ourselves as children of God; if we are not capable of loving each other; if the fruits (Mt 7.16) which show in our social life are not good or abundant, then Christ is not resurrected and “your faith is a delusion and you are still lost in your sins” (1 Co 15.17).
Today, Christ’s resurrection has to continue being a historical fact; through the life of Christians, who make Christ present in each space/time, and each change and new situation in human life, it continues as historical celebration.

In other words, what gives testimony of Christ’s Resurrection –which was clearly and abundantly testified by the first Christians and their communal life (Cf Acts 2.42ff and 4.32ff); is the fraternal life of those who do the Father’s will, taught by the Son: That we love one another (Jn 13.14) as God himself loves us. The stories of the empty tomb found in the “reports of the appearances” are, in themselves, beautiful literary pieces to express the most important and fundamental confession of the faith of Christians: Christ continues alive in history, he is not dead, he is risen (Acts 2.32). He is alive and risen as long as there are men and women who valiantly and without fear (Acts 9.28) share the bread (Lk. 24.13ff) and construct peace and forgiveness (Jn 20.29ff) in the joy and justice of the children of God.

To celebrate the Resurrection implies, then, to resurrect each day and always: to return to the permanent conversion and to live-in-Christ the new life as Children of God and brothers and sisters of all men and women. As a result, without this “new-life” life itself is not credible and it would only be a motive for scandal to confess that Christ has risen.

Therefore, to long for and to wish all of you a Happy Easter declares the desire for a new life in Christ in accordance with His Gospel.