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Sharing some Reflections on Easter or the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ Sharing some Reflections on Easter or the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ
by Dr. Emanuel Paparella
2021-04-04 09:32:39
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Introduction: What follows are some reflections on Easter by way of a statement by C.S. Lewis, and an excerpt from an essay by Glenn B. Siniscalchi titled “Christ’s Resurrection and Theological Relevance” which appeared in 2012. Siniscalchi is the associate editor of American Theological Inquiry: a bi-annual journal of theology, culture and history. I’d like to share those reflections with those Ovi readers looking for meaning and inspiration in this most solemn day of Christian celebration, beyond the chocolate Easter bunny or the colored eggs, be they Catholics or non-Catholics, believers or non-believers.


“The Catholic faith is centered, undoubtedly, on the Resurrected Lord of all, Jesus Christ, Christus Victor!  By no means could we ever hope to comprehend this mystery as the climactic point of human history; yet, we can apprehend something meaningful about it. 

Because we cannot wrap our minds around this mystery, we are instead forced to think about it from different perspectives.  There is no single dimension of the Resurrection that can provide us with a comprehensive understanding…  Ideas have consequences.  Beliefs affect behavior; doctrine helps to determine devotion.  It is my hope and prayer that we will be more conscious of Easter Sunday throughout the liturgical year.  Let us now turn to Christ’s Resurrection, and its relevance for all of our beliefs and practices as Catholics.


First, the Resurrection is a necessary prolegomenon (the study of the preconditions which make theology possible) for the Christian faith.  While it is true that “we believe in order to understand,” it is equally true to say that “the more we authentically understand, the more disposed we are to have faith.”  Genuine knowledge can be used by God as a springboard for Catholic faith.  Whether one wishes to theologize on the Resurrection as an act of forgiveness, or as the commencement of the new future, or as the establishment of the Apostles’ proclamation, none of these are possible if Jesus’ body still remains in the tomb (cf. 1 Cor. 15:12-19).  That is why we need to defend the historicity of the Resurrection in order to make theology a genuine possibility.


The apologists’ concerns also act as a call to reinvigorate what the late Cardinal Avery Dulles has called the “herald model of the church.”  The case for Christ’s Resurrection can be just one means through which the saints can become equipped to become confident in verbally sharing their faith (cf. Eph. 6:19; Col. 4:5, 6; 1 Pet. 3:15; Jude 3).  Apologetics reminds us of why we believe, and in whom we believe.  Building confidence might help believers to share the things we believe with others, and to face the suffering that is often accompanied by these exchanges.  By having good reasons for faith, we know that whom we believe can be backed with legitimate evidence.


The Resurrection appearances of Jesus from the dead are closely linked to the Church’s mission (thus the branch of theology known as “missiology”) to spread the good news.  Not only did the first percipients see the Risen Jesus appear to them, they also sensed their newfound mission to inaugurate the reign of God.  As Kenan Osborne has remarked, “there is a mission and commissioning connected to the appearances of Jesus to his disciples, both men and women. . . . In other words, during his lifetime, Jesus did not institute a church.  He did not establish the twelve as bishops, nor did he establish a new priesthood.  All of this hierarchical development arose in a post-resurrection milieu, and was brought about because of Easter faith.  In other words, all the mysteries of the Passion come to fruition only on Easter morning: the institution of the Eucharist, the sacred orders of Christ’s priests, the truth of Baptism as a “first resurrection,” makes sense today only because Christ defeated death for all time…”


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