by Ken Rolheiser
The Resurrection in our crucified moments

There is an Island off the coast of Italy that has a population of five million Sicilians. That is the highest number I know.

I wonder how many times God reaches out to us in our daily lives? Every breath, every heartbeat, is at the pleasure of God. We cannot count these blessings. But we can know that the greatest blessing we have from God is the Resurrection. It can transform our lives.

In his Easter homily Father Brendan McGuire calls us to live the Resurrection in our crucified moments. Every single moment of weakness and brokenness in our lives and in the world around us calls us to respond with love.

We are called to absorb the bitterness and anger, the unforgiveness and hatred, and sin. We are called to absorb, transform it, and give back kindness, gentleness, forgiveness, love. That is the great lesson of Christ’s response to the crucifixion.

What does that kind of love look like? In the fall of 2006, the unthinkable happened when a one-room school full of Amish children was taken hostage by Charles Carl Roberts IV. After a few terrifying hours, Roberts bound, then shot ten girls, killing five of them before turning the gun on himself. 

Within hours, the Amish families immediately began extending their forgiveness to the gunman and visited his wife and parents to offer them comfort—they even attended the killer’s funeral. A grandfather of one of the murdered girls cautioned the family not to hate the killer, "we must not think evil of this man", while another father said, "he had a mother and a wife and a soul. And now he’s standing before a just God."

I am reminded of McGuire’s Good Friday homily where he talks about how we sometimes treat those nearest to us, our siblings or our spouses. We poke each other’s wounds, and we keep on poking until they blow up. And we think, “Yeah!”.

It is in these very situations of weakness where we need to let the love of the Resurrection conquer our weaknesses. The Holy Saturday Readings reminded us of God’s reaching out to us for thousands of years. Finally, our Redeemer came and showed us the way of love.

The lesson of the Cross is that the devil does not have the last word. Jesus absorbed all that the gates of hell could throw at him. His crucifixion seemingly destroyed him. But Jesus absorbed all the evil and responded with love.

Every one of us will face the temptations and trials of this life. We will end with death, a physical death. All will seem to be lost. But Jesus lives in us. Love lives in us, and love is stronger than death. God has the last word, and the last word is Love. His last word is Resurrection!

When temptation besets us, when we feel unforgiving, when we are lost in mourning a loved one, when our desires are unfulfilled; that is when God will raise us up. That is when we need to crucify our weaknesses and failings with God’s grace.

The crucified moments of our lives prepare us for our physical deaths. McGuire says, “if we could live the crucified moments now with the Resurrection mindset, then we get to live eternity right now. We get to live that love for real now.”

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