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The significance of the Resurrection

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 Contents - May 2003AD2000 May 2003 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: The significance of the Resurrection - Peter Westmore
Events: Carnivale Christi 2003 - A tale of four cities - Anthony McCarthy
News: The Church Around the World
Surge in priestly vocations confounds secular culture - Joanne Grainger
Why priestly vocations are up in Perth Archdiocese - Debra Warrier
Brisbane archdiocesan synod: challenges needing to be addressed - Peter Howard
Liturgy: Latvia shows the way on liturgical renewal - Cardinal Janis Pujats
Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan (1928-2002): How faith survived in a Communist prison - Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan
Architecture: 'Re-ordered' and 'new' churches - symptoms of a wider spiritual malaise - Marie Cassey
Language: The forgotten language of adoration of God - through words and actions - Audrey English
Letters: Definitive teachings (letter) - Jerome Gonzalez
Letters: Infallible (letter) - George Simpson
Letters: Teachings promoted (letter) - Pat O'Brien
Letters: Role of bishop (letter) - Arthur Negus
Letters: Healing of the family tree (letter) - Anne Lastman
Letters: Friday Abstinence (letter) - Leo Leitch
Letters: Teilhard de Chardin (letter) - Stuart J. Blackwood
Letters: Praying for priests (letter) - Denise Kelly
Books: Life-Giving Love: Embracing God's beautiful design for marriage, Kimberley Hahn - Leanne and Michael Casanova (reviewer)
Books: Christianity On Trial: Arguments Against Anti-Religious Bigotry - Bill Muehlenberg (reviewer)
Review: The Mysteries of Light: Rosary for Children and Youth on cassette - Colleen McGuinness-Howard (reviewer)
Books: Essentials of the Faith: A Guide to the Catechism / Pastoral Answers - Michael E. Daniel (reviewer)
Review: Spending The Day With Mary: The Rosary on CD and Tape - Joe Padero (reviewer)
Books: Our books are the cheapest!
Reflection: St Francis on individual confession and receiving Holy Communion - Fr Sebastian Camilleri OFM

Every year, at Easter, we hear again the Gospel accounts of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. By repetition, the truly astonishing nature of this event, as recorded by each of the four evangelists, is largely lost on us.

St Paul, a persecutor of the church until his conversion on the road to Damascus, attests to the very early and uniform belief that Jesus literally rose body and soul from the dead.

He says, in his first letter to the Christians in Corinth, believed to have been written about 55AD, just 20 years after the resurrection, "I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received" - from Peter and other Apostles - "that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas [Peter], then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than 500 brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me."

Paul concluded, "If Christ has not been raised then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is in vain."

Some modern biblical scholars, along with non-Christian sceptics, have argued Jesus did not die on the cross, others that he did not rise from the dead. Both claims are explicitly refuted by the Gospel writers. Matthew even tells us the Temple authorities spread the story that Jesus' disciples had stolen the body, "and this story has been spread among the Jews to this day."

Even in those days, there were many who could not accept the resurrection, so it is not surprising that many do not accept it today. What strikes the reader about the apostles was their unwillingness to accept the reality of the resurrection, until Jesus proved it, through his appearances, first to Mary, later on the first Easter Sunday to Simon Peter, then to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, then to apostles who were still in the upper room where Jesus had celebrated the Last Supper, and later to many others.

We can take great consolation from Jesus' statement to the apostle Thomas: "Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe."

  • Peter Westmore is Publisher of AD2000.

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 16 No 4 (May 2003), p. 2

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