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All seemed lost. The Master’s death had uprooted the faith of the disciples.
In those endless hours, the memory of the powerful miracles they had witnessed was useless. The words of heavenly life that the Lord had given to their hearts did not help. He was dead, dying a horrible death. “Nothing was true. All a deception.” This was the temptation, this is the objective deduction. But God reserves His last word for the moment we silence ourselves. So does love; it hides, sometimes, it tries... it makes us experience the bleak feeling that it’s all over and that nothing was as they understood and believed. Death strips us, flips us, chips away. It brings us down with our miserable poverty, dethrones us. But death doesn’t have the last word. The resurrection is the perfect reformation of every death, it is the perfect prologue of every life that lives in love.
I wrote this brief meditation after having repeatedly penetrated, especially in prayer, the mystery of death that faces the life of every human being and overwhelms his destiny. Christianity confirms and explains this yearning for eternal life, and does so with a widely documented historical fact, indeed, the most documented.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ.
If Jesus rose from the dead and is, therefore, still alive, I too will live eternally; if he has disappeared, I too will annihilate myself, and all faith in Him and in every other god would be in vain. Precisely because the resurrection is the center, the cornerstone of everything, all hypotheses have been studied to deny it, thus trying to “demolish” the whole Christian faith. In favor of the honesty of the evangelists and the reliability of Christ’s Resurrection, it must be remembered that none of the 4 Gospels describe the moment of resurrection. If it had been their invention, it would have been the first thing to tell, perhaps even going into detail. Not only that: the Apostles were also doubting the resurrection, as an author writing about himself highlights not his own virtues but instead fears, denials, weaknesses. This is what the Apostles did.
Despite the testimony given by the Pious Women. St. Thomas does not even believe the other disciples, until he can see himself, even asking to put his famous finger in the holes of the nails and his hand in the side of the risen Jesus. Would it have been a wise attitude on the part of the Apostles to so sadly emphasize their disbelief if the Gospels had been manipulated and invented by Christians for their own use and consumption? What would it be like to ask us to believe in something even they didn’t believe, those that were witnesses and friends of Jesus? Christianity is not explained without the resurrection. It is the central event that is the cause of everything. Nor can the moral resurrection of the Apostles and their subsequent preaching be explained. If Jesus had not risen, his story would have ended in His tomb. The Apostles were already resigned and had considered the story of Jesus closed. They didn't even dream of seeing Jesus alive again. They had been too depressed and demoralized, seeing him tortured horribly, crucified and pierced to the heart. They were scandalized by His apparent helplessness. What made these same men, fearful and frightened, suddenly brave, strong and ready to face prison, scourges and death?
There can be no other explanation: they noted the resurrection and received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. And as the poor, unarmed, discouraged and without prospects of earthly advantages, they have been able to face extreme poverty, persecution and their own death. The Acts of the Apostles inform us that after a few weeks from Pentecost (which falls 50 days after Easter) the number of Christians had risen to 5,000. Jesus was seen risen by as many as 500 disciples, who preached as eyewitnesses. And conversions extended throughout Palestine, Phoenicia, and Syria. The Apostles, then, were believed because they continued to have the power to perform miracles and cast out demons. Ultimately the Holy Easter of Resurrection is our feast, it is the victory of luminous hope against the dark unfathomable abysses that tarnish the distant future of every living thing.
By rising up, Jesus showed us that death is conquered and that beyond the boundary wall opens a garden of delights in which we will always be healthy, and happy. A kingdom of love awaits every man of good will, a paradise in which all long-awaited expectations always await us and never disappoint us.
Easter also invites us to come to terms with our souls who can rise from now on thanks to the sacrament of Confession. God awaits us in the confessional to make us experience the joy of the resurrection in which the soul, washed by sin, returns to shine with the love of a God who loved us until death, but in view of eternal life.