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Monday, 21 March 2016 14:17

Christianity is a religion of the Resurrection

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Fr Frank Freeman sdbResurrection comes from the Latin word ‘re-surgere’ meaning a new surge of life, a lifting up once again. This is what resurrecting Christianity is all about; the continual surge of new life into all which is human, writes Salesian Father Frank Freeman.

“Christianity is in its very essence a religion of the Resurrection. The concept of resurrection lies at its very heart. If you remove it, Christianity is destroyed.” [John R Stott]

Within a few short days, the Christian communities will be celebrating the greatest day in the Christian Calendar, namely Easter, the paschal mystery, the Resurrection of Christ. Now the resurrection of Jesus is a unique event. We cannot describe it, or say how it happened. Nor can we prove it scientifically. We can only say it did happen. For 2000 years, Christians have proclaimed their faith in the resurrection of Jesus because they have experienced His abiding presence in their lives. Christianity is in its very essence a resurrection religion. The concept of resurrection lies at its heart. If you remove it, Christianity is destroyed.

There are many deaths: selfishness destroys the life of families and associations; arrogance gives death to friendships and love relationships; hardened hearts refuse life -giving forgiveness and violence kills love, for the hardened unforgiving heart is a steel door barred against compassion and sensitive forbearance and brings a death.

Yes, there many deaths but there are also many resurrections as we rise up from such human weaknesses. Resurrection comes from the Latin word ‘re-surgere’ meaning a new surge of life, a lifting up once again. This is what resurrecting Christianity is all about; the continual surge of new life into all which is human. “More and more, I get from the gospels the impression that people, in comparison with Christ, are only half-alive. Christ is life itself, hammering on the tombs in which our souls lie buried.” [Sebastian More]

Recently many cities on the east coast of the United States Brisbane and Auckland have experienced difficulties in electrical power supply. During a recent black-out, a city had a surge of power which not just returned light and energy to its inhabitants, but a new life surge through the city’s arteries. A dead city had returned to life.

Let us prepare ourselves well for this great ‘Feast of feasts’. There is no day to compare with Easter Sunday. It stands out from the conflicts and turmoil of our broken world. It lifts our minds and enlivens our hearts with a joy and love so complete that it conquers in us the fear of death. The Eucharistic prayer rightly exults, “The joy of the Resurrection renews the whole world”.

The celebration of the Easter rites, the enkindling of the new fire, the lighted candle carried in triumphant procession, the cleansing baptismal waters are the celebration of our transformation, and the surge of new life in all our loved ones who have gone before us.