April 20, 2014


If God died for all of us, it is not ours to decide who is fit to live (Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, 27/03/2005, Sunday Telegraph)

What difference does Easter make? It is a question which, not least for professional reasons, I must ask myself each year. It helps to put the question like this: What difference would it make if Jesus had not risen? Without the Resurrection, St Paul said, "Our preaching would be in vain". A remarkable man would have lived, died the life of an unsuccessful nobody, and merited at most a few lines in Roman journals. Even his followers - those who had been most affected by the three-year ministry of Jesus - would hardly have kept his memory alive. As the gospels so vividly record, for the disciples the Crucifixion was devastating, a signal that Jesus was not, after all, the Promised One, the Saviour of Israel.

But that is not what happened. The tombstone was rolled away, and Jesus appeared, various times, in different guises. It was not easy to accept; several hundred years after the Resurrection, bishops always felt it necessary to defend the credibility of Jesus rising when preparing people for baptism. The women who first took the message to the Apostles were discredited by them; only when they had seen him for themselves - and in the case of Thomas, actually touched him - did they surrender their incredulity and declare: My Lord and my God!

Without the Resurrection, human society would not have known the one, singular, astonishing thing that underpins the best of our laws and our traditions: that God gave himself to the world in Jesus Christ, was rejected by the world, and became a victim. Without the Resurrection, Jesus would have remained an unknown victim - trampled on, and forgotten; and human society would be none the wiser. But God raised Jesus up, demonstrated His power over death, and gave those who witnessed it the knowledge that the bloodied victim abandoned on Golgotha was, after all, His beloved son.

That knowledge has changed the world. The Jews were the first to know that God was on the side of the widow, the orphan and the stranger; the Christians were the first to know that the victim was the divine Son of God himself. That is why Christian society is distinguished by its overwhelming concern for the helpless victim: the very least of us is worth God suffering and dying for. Our Easter faith does not answer the thousand and one questions that our life poses. But it turns those questions around that one, magnificent fact: we are all worth it. All of us.

[Originally posted: March 26, 2005]

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Posted by at April 20, 2014 12:00 AM

AMEN!! He Lives!!

Posted by: Lyla Moreland at March 26, 2005 9:31 PM

Charlie DeLay wass worth it, wasn't he?

Posted by: Robert Duquette at March 27, 2005 1:34 PM

"Without the Resurrection,... A remarkable man would have lived, died the life of an unsuccessful nobody"

and without the peanut butter and the jelly, a peanut butter & jelly sandwich is just 2 pieces of white bread.

Posted by: Perry at March 27, 2005 7:36 PM
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