Jesus is the heart of everything
13 June 2021 11th Sunday Year B
A conversation overheard on a busy city tram went like this: “Excuse me, stranger. But do you have the time?”
“No, I’m afraid I don’t. Time rather has us, don’t you think?” says the second man.
“Well, I suppose you’re right. Are you some kind of philosopher – a professional puzzler – something like that?” asks the first man.
“Yes. Something like that: I am a Catholic theologian. My job is to think deeply and clearly about God, and to teach others to do so as well.”
“This is terrific. You must answer my question. Christianity: what in the world is that all about?”
“One minute.” The second man gulps and looks around helplessly. “Okay, I’ll try. So, I just came from Sunday Mass where we celebrate the mystery at the heart of the faith: the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. We believe he was dead, bodily dead, and now he’s alive. His body is transformed, and death can no longer touch him.”
“Let’s just assume it’s true. But what does that one-off miracle, long ago event mean for me, for all these people, for anyone,” says the first man.
“At Mass we celebrate that event. The celebration is not only keeping the memory of it alive, but actually participating in it, rendering ourselves present to it and sharing in it.”
“And that’s what the ritual, words and gestures and special clothing and cups and plates and all that is all about?” the first man continues.
“And a table, an altar. A sacrifice is offered: Christ on the cross and a sharing in – through eating – a sharing in his new life. The life that can no longer die, eternal life. Jesus has passed over from death to life and his passing over has created a path, a bridge, for us, for all humanity and for all creation, to pass through, from their present state, ruled by death, to a new way of being … ruled by life.”
“You’ve got something right: this world is certainly ruled by death. I mean the world is wonderful, and how I love it – being alive and all – sport, culture, friendship, food, sleep, sunrises, love. There’s so much good, but it’s like it’s all under a shadow, you know, a curse, like it’s just not right: wars, hatred, division and death. Death is the name of all that. You know?”
“Man yes! Exactly,” says the second man. “The Christian hope is that death did not have the final word on Jesus, and because of that, it doesn’t have the final word over anything. That’s how central he is to things. He’s the final word and therefore the heart of everything – the beating heart of life – and all that good stuff you mentioned: it finds its home with him. He’s alive! He’s Lord! There’s hope! That’s the idea.”
“This is my stop. Let’s talk more about this next week,” says the first man enthusiastically.
“I’d love to.”
W Chris Hackett
© Majellan Media 2021