Thursday, April 23, 2009
Easter Sunday 2009
My sister Maureen is dead five years ago this day, April 12. When I saw her dead body at the mortuary, I said, “She isn’t here.” Her body was there, but not my sister. I think Peter must have said the same thing when he ran to Jesus’ tomb and found it empty. Peter did not understand what happened, and just went home. I believe that my sister lives with the risen Jesus, no longer in her body which is very dead. What gives me some hope of this? What makes me think this way? One of the reasons is in the first few chapters of Act of the Apostles. Peter is a fisherman, a coward, a liar and a very disloyal friend of Jesus.
So what happened to make him a person who would put his life on the line and go out into the public, to a disbelieving and incredulous group of people, to proclaim to them that Jesus is Risen, and is the Christ? I think that Peter must have had a very powerful experience of Jesus alive after death. Peter knew that Jesus was dead. That is why he hid out behind locked doors. But the fears of Peter were overcome by the appearance of Jesus dead and now very much alive.
The complete transformation of Peter could only come from the appearance of the Risen Jesus. It was not an apparition of the imagination or a hoped for wishful thinking. Peter was too much of a frightened coward to even begin to want such things. No, it was very much a surprise to Peter and the other disciples. Peter has become a believer to the extent that it changed his life. He is a much more hopeful person. He is much less focused upon himself. He is aware of his faults unlike before the Resurrection, when Peter seemed so much more clueless about himself.
The challenge then comes to me, a professed believer. How does it change my life? Does the belief in Jesus Risen make me see my faults, and yet bring me to live out my belief in challenging situations? It is easy to talk about faith with fellow believers. Church can be so comfortable in that way. Baby Baptism is comforting, but the baby grows up and has to make some choices, often on a daily basis. The Risen God is trying to reveal a Presence to the world through human beings like me with all my shortcomings. If Peter can do it, I think maybe I can try to be a bit more public about my experience of the Risen Jesus.