WHERE TO SEEK THE ONE WHO LIVES?
Faith in Jesus, risen by the Father, didn’t spring naturally and spontaneously in the hearts of the disciples. Before meeting him, full of life, the Gospel writers talk about their confusion, their search around the tomb, their questions and uncertainties.
Mary of Magdala is the best prototype of what probably happens to all of them. According to John’s story, she seeks the crucified in the shadows, «when it was still dark». Naturally she seeks him «in the grave». She still doesn’t know that death has been conquered. That’s why the emptiness of the tomb leaves her upset. Without Jesus, she feels lost.
The other Gospel writers gather a different tradition that describes the search of the whole group of women. They can’t forget the Master who has welcomed them as disciples: their love brings them to the tomb. They don’t find Jesus there, but hear the message that points out to them where they need to direct their search: «Why do you seek among the dead, the one who lives? He isn’t here. He has risen».
Faith in the risen Christ isn’t born spontaneously in us either today, just because we have listened from childhood to catechists and preachers. In order to open us to faith in Jesus’ resurrection, we need to make our own way. It’s decisive to not forget Jesus, to love him passionately and to seek him with all our energies, but not in the world of the dead. The one who lives must be sought where life is.
If we want to meet the risen Christ, full of life and creative energy, we need to seek him, not in a dead religion, one that is reduced to fulfilling and observing external laws and norms, but there where people live according to Jesus’ Spirit, where people are welcomed with faith, love and responsibility for Jesus’ followers.
We need to seek him, not among Christians divided and faced with sterile battles, empty of Jesus’ love and of Gospel passion, but there where we go about building communities that put Christ in their center because they know that «where two or three gather in his name, there also will he be».
We won’t meet the one who lives in a faith that is stuck in routine, wasted in every kind of topic and formula void of experience, but in a faith that seeks a new quality in our relationship with him and in our identification with his project. A Jesus who is darkened and inert, who doesn’t fall in love or seduce, who doesn’t touch hearts or spread freedom, is a «dead Jesus». He isn’t the living Christ, risen by the Father. He isn’t the one who lives and who gives life.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf