Friday, May 2, 2014

The Resurrection of Jesus: 'The Definitive Action of God'

Dear Parish Faithful,


On the upcoming Third Sunday of Pascha we will read the Burial and Resurrection Narrative from St. Mark's Gospel. (MK. 15:43-16:8). This will be the only Sunday on which we read from a Gospel other than St. John's before Pentecost.

Anticipating that powerful Gospel passage, I wanted to share a short but very insightful passage from the biblical scholar Franicis J. Moloney, and his book The Resurrection of the Messiah. (If the name Vassilios Papavasiliou clearly indicates a Greek Orthodox writer; than Francis J. Moloney clearly indicates an Irish Roman Catholic writer!).

In his chapter on MK. 16:1-8, Moloney writes the following:

The question asked of God by Jesus from the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' (MK. 15:34), has been answered.  Jesus has not been forsaken. 
Unconditionally obedient to the will of God (see 14:36), Jesus has accepted the cup of suffering.  On the cross he is Messiah, King of Israel, and Son of God (see 15:32, 39).  God's never-failing presence to his obedient Son leads to the definitive action of God:  he has been raised! 
The apparent failure of Jesus has been reversed by the action of God, who has raised Jesus from death.  The women are told to look at the place where they have laid him.  The opponents of Jesus crucified him, and they placed his body in a tomb ("look at the place where they laid him").  It could appear that they have had their victory, but they were thwarted. He has been raised, and the existence of the Gospel indicates that there is a community of believers whose coming into being depends upon God's action.  Jesus' prophecy that the rejected stone would become the foundation stone of a new Temple of God has proved true (see 12:11-12; 14:58; 15:29)

Familiarity with the various Resurrection narratives found in all four Gospels (MK. 16; MATT. 28; LK. 24; JN. 20 & 21) should be high on any Orthodox Christian's priority list.

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