2 Easter A’14 •Acts 2: 42-47 • 1 Peter 1: 3-9 • John 20:19-31•
Weekly Scripture Readings: Second Sunday of Easter
Christ is Risen! (Truly he is risen!) The Fourth Gospel provokes us to go beyond stereotypical Christianity. It proclaims a new dimension of life and consciousness for all! The four resurrection narratives in the twentieth chapter tell us resurrection is not something that occurred only in the life of Jesus. It occurs, can occur, will occur in each of us!
I have never seen the Risen One. I have experienced his presence and spirit. So like you, I
readily affirm that Christ is Risen! (Truly he is risen!)
In pondering today’s gospel I think it is important to remember the first stories. “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark,” Mary Magdalen “turned and saw Jesus … but did not know it was him.” She learned she could not cling to the physical presence of the Risen One. Shortly thereafter “Peter and the other disciple went to the tomb.” They see the burial cloths have been laid aside and neatly folded up. We are told simply “the other disciple believed.”
In today’s gospel we hear of two additional events. First, “when it was evening on that day” the Risen One “came and stood among the disciples.” Then “a week later” the Risen One “came and stood among them” again. It seems these disciples either had not heard of or were not impacted by Magdalene’s experience or that of Peter and the other disciple.
This is a significant indicator that the Fourth Gospel is not a historical but a theological document. “The doors of the house were locked.” The Risen One lives and appears mysteriously in their midst. This is not the physical Jesus but the Christ of faith, alive in a new dimension.
Christ is Risen! (Truly he is risen!) In his public life Jesus consistently announced “the reign of God”. He was proclaiming a new dimension of life and consciousness that was emerging in and through him.
One of our primal instincts, our survival instinct, is expressed in our fear of death. This instinct is evident in “National Security States,” gated communities and condominium buildings like the one in which I love. Our survival instinct is powered by enormous psychic energy.
Jesus sublimated that energy into unconditional love and shared his life so freely that death could not contain him. He stepped through death into the reality of God, into unbounded life.
Christ is Risen! (Truly he is risen!) Look for your own story in the stories of this gospel.
“The doors of the house were locked for fear of the Jews.” His companions are controlled by their survival instinct – fear! That instinct, their fear of death, prompts them to be cautious and untrusting. It limits their ability to love and hinders them from being fully alive and fully human. Thomas was absent but no different. Fear prompts him to be cautious and untrusting.
“Jesus breathed on them and said, ‘receive the Holy Spirit’.” The Risen One invites them/us to sublimate the enormous energy of our survival instinct. He invites them/us and breathes the Holy Spirit upon us enabling us to be free of fear so we open self to the new dimension of life he lived. “Jesus did many other signs…that are not in this book; these are written that you might believe…and have life in his name.” That is my experience. When I have allowed myself to enter the Christ Mystery I have experienced what it is to be alive. When I allow the Spirit of Christ to empower me I have felt free of the boundaries of fear that separate me from others, and from myself. In those moments and in the love I see expressed by people like you, I experience that Christ is Risen! (Truly he is risen!)
Resurrection is not something that occurred only in the life of Jesus. It occurs, can occur, will occur in each of us! Christ is Risen! (Truly he is risen!)