Monthly Message from Fr. Timothy - May 2019
A poet once observed that “death is a reality with the longest shadow”. Our prehistoric ancestors resigned themselves to their inability to escape the reach of that long shadow or else they put up a brave front in the face of it. Our forebearers’ belief in life beyond the grave was very ambiguous and often unpersuasive.
Even as recently as Old Testament times the question of death and afterlife remained unclear for the most part. It’s only with the ‘gospel’ delivered by Jesus Christ that death was routinely spoken of as the beginning of a new and never-ending life. Faith in life after death quickly inspired courageous and often joyful acceptance of the cruelest forms of torture and execution as illustrated in the well documented accounts of early Christian martyrs and saints.
Our current post-Christian worlds’ struggle with death is, in reality, our own vain attempt to escape death even if we do hold to some lingering traces of Christian belief in future life. Unfortunately, the treatment of death in our ‘new’ sanitized ‘theology’ is too often lost in complex terminology that tries not to offend. Contemporary explanations of death express little of the basic Christian truth that death is merely the door-way beyond which beckon great personalities like Jesus, Mary and Joseph and all the saints as well as our own righteous ancestors.
Christian faith rests on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, St. Paul says as much. Without this belief our faith is to no real avail. Jesus rose from the dead with a body, which, though very real in the human sense, also had some awesome characteristics, we hear about this at the Sunday Matins gospels.
The Holy Gospels are our only source of information about the Resurrection. The evangelists offer a unique source of detail about this extraordinary event endorsed by their own sobering matter-of-fact styles. Critics, who question the event and the source, often end up contradicting one another, whereas the story of the Resurrection continues to make its own unique impact.
Our Christian ancestors have, from the start, insisted on the reality of Jesus' Resurrection and on the importance of the Church to bear witness to Christ’s truth. The Resurrection of Jesus and the eventual bodily resurrection of every believer is resented by the world for a variety of reasons, the most pernicious of which is the cult of the human body.
Jesus has put an end to the fear of death, the denial of mortality, the quest for the ‘fountain of youth’, the worship of the flesh.
During these Holy Days between Easter and the
Ascension lets consider this historic event, contemplate the mystery, re-read the texts, go along to the mountain to which Jesus is directing us and, despite our doubts, believe. Christ Is Risen!
Blessings, Father +Timothy