Intermittent appearances

Christ is risen!

I hope all have a joyful Easter Octave this week.

As I head into the end of the academic year I am entering into a very consuming stretch of work, so my posting here will be intermittent at best. Pray for me and I for thee.

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I will leave you with one meditation for this stretch. Blessings!

The Octave has begun in earnest today, Monday, called both Bright Monday and the Day God laughed. It concludes next Sunday with the celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday, which is a fitting summation of the whole of God’s work, from the first instant creation sprang into being out of nothing, to the re-creation of all things in the Resurrection of Christ out of the nothingness of death.

Mercy is love creating, healing, forgiving, renewing all that it touches. Mercy is the substance of the new creation.

Christ is risen!

Jesus’ bodily resurrection is not resuscitation, as was the case with Lazarus or the son of the widow of Nain, precisely because Jesus’ coming to life again does not mean a return to life in this world. Rather, the resurrection of Christ is a second “Big Bang,” a re-creative event that inaugurated a new order of existence, a new creation governed by a new law: “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). By His death of self-sacrificing love, Jesus split the nucleus of death and released in His risen sacred humanity the infinite energy of divine mercy that “makes all things new” (cf Rev. 21:5). Pentecost, which is a glorious coda at the end of the Easter season, opens that Big Bang up to all of humanity, allowing us who join in the re-creative energies of the risen and ascending Christ — by acts of faith, hope and charity — to extend His detonating mercy to absolutely everything.

By becoming saints.

Watch carefully what Jesus does over the next 40 days of appearances. The characteristic law and order of the Kingdom of God, the new heaven and new earth, can be discerned in the nature and activity of the Body of the risen Christ — in His resurrection appearances and in the members of His mystical Body, the Church. In fact, the Church, born at Pentecost, is meant and sent to reveal to all of creation (Mark 16:15) the inauguration of the Kingdom’s new law and order here and now, within this world.
What does that look like?

When the old creation, still under the power of death, says of the children of light, “See how they love one another,” we can be certain that the old order is passing over into the new. That what happens in Eucharistic transubstantiation is making its way out of the Chalice and off of the Paten out into the enslaved world that awaits the freedom of God’s children. Seen from this vantage, miracles — Eucharistic or otherwise — are not to be understood as the transgression or violation of creation’s natural laws, but rather as a revelation of the sacramental transfiguration of this world’s laws by the irruption of the new creation into the old. All of the Sacraments, but above all the Eucharist, effect this change. Transubstantiation is not some bizarre trick God plays, or a crazy logic puzzle, but rather is the premier sign of how the new creation transfigures the old — not violently replacing or destroying the old, but peacefully, gently, quietly, hiddenly transforming this world’s “substance” into a new order of existence that originates in Jesus’ risen Flesh and Blood.

A new order suffused with self-wasting, self-giving, healing, forgiving, patient, kind love. A new order that produces a St. Josephine Bakhita (1869–1947), whose body, marked with the scars of human cruelty, remains today a stunning sign of the incorrupt life of the new creation spoken into being by words of mercy: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). For she said, “If I met those slave traders who kidnapped me and treated me so cruelly, I would kneel to kiss their hands, because if that had not happened, I would not be a Christian and a religious today. Poor things, maybe they did not know they were hurting me so much: they were the masters, I was their slave. Just as we are used to doing good out of habit, so they did that by force of habit, not because they were wicked.”

Listen closely to the readings every day of this Easter season and be attentive to the characteristics of this newness; of what new things emerge in the risen, uncontainable Christ and in His Body, the Church. And then be exceptionally attentive to how He accomplishes this new creation in, with and through you at each moment, bit by bit, making all-things-you, new.

6 comments on “Intermittent appearances

  1. Jennifer says:

    So the day after the Resurrection you e title a post “intermittent appearances”… I’m excitedly expecting some thought-provoking insights about Jesus’ appearances….But now I’m left with only one question…..Is this title a joke?

    Best wishes to you in your time of tying up loose terms. And may you find yourself unexpectedly in the middle of a fabulous flash mob. Because I can tell from your Easter post that this is your secret dream ( as is mine). God bless!!

  2. Jennifer says:

    I’m so grateful for this reflection.
    “See how they love one another.”
    “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart.”
    I lay awake last night recounting all the ways I have not loved those God has given me. How can I -who has seen the Lord, who has been forgiven much too much to count, who has been completely knocked off balance and reset anew by Love – criticize and condemn and sentence others to death over trivialities? So as I sit here toggling between this post and today’s readings I am lamenting, begging His mercy, wondering how I’ll ever recover from my failure, and suddenly the left half my field of vision is flooded in pale blue light and His mercy calms the storm and steadies me and whispers “Now go.” And I suddenly get how absolutely miserable I am and how perfectly merciful He is and how foolish and perilous it is of me to think I can go one single step without continually drawing from His ocean of mercy. Lord, waste me today for love of You.
    In Christ,

  3. WoopieCushion says:

    I loved all of this esp the science insight into what has happened in the Resurrection. I caught something from science news this week about the discovery of “negative mass” whereby matter, when pushed away by force, rather than moving away, under certain conditions, moves toward the force. I gotta look at that again to make sure I got my data right but, if it is, I think that is a neat insight into The Mass. The force and power of rejection comes back at that force (ie us) with the force of tender mercy under sacramental signs!
    Bakhita, pray for us!

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