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Spirituality of the Readings
Second Sunday of Easter
Year C
April 24, 2022
John Foley, SJ

Do you believe in the resurrection?

If the answer is “no,” St. Paul says that your “faith is in vain” (1 Cor 15:14).

Alright, but sometimes it is hard to know what “resurrection” means. Could it simply mean bringing Jesus back to life so he could go on as before?


Jesus’ life, death and resurrection point us toward the source of all life.

Jesus had been deeply marked by injuries, humiliation and death. A return to mere life would almost erase these, as if they did not happen. An ordinary life! All better now?

No. Here is a metaphor.

Imagine there is a “spiritual soil” from which all life “sprouts.” In his death Jesus plunged deep down into such a soil. He stumbled, fell, and lost his life, the very thing we think is irreplaceable and to be guarded beyond all else.

In this metaphor, life is only a garden plant. It grows from an earth so rich that we hardly notice it. That spiritual earth is love.

Vast, quiet love. From God, who is love.

Like Doubting Thomas, we find this easy to doubt. Look at him. He was resentful, probably broken-hearted. He warded off his grief by simple denial. Unless I “put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (Gospel)!

And look at the other men. In the gospel of Luke, the women, not the men, saw the empty tomb first and the angels. They took it seriously. But “ …  their words seemed an idle tale, and [the apostles] did not believe” (Lk 24:11). In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus first came to the women. When the men went to the place where Jesus had said he would meet them, “they worshipped him, but some doubted” (Mt 28:17). In Mark, Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene, but when she went to the apostles, you guessed it, they rejected her testimony (Mk 16:9). Nor did they listen to the men who had met Jesus walking to Emmaus (Mk 16:12-13).

Hard to miss the fact that the women usually believed and the men often did not. Women dared to trust what they saw. They have been given lower status in culture throughout the ages, but we can see that it is a big mistake to ignore their testimony.

There was a popular author, Dan Brown, who in the Da Vinci Code, pretended not to ignore woman’s testimony. He says dramatically that males have systematically repressed the essence of Christianity. The real truth, he claims, one guarded through centuries, is that Mary Magdalene was Jesus’ secret wife! Moreover, a flesh and blood descendent from Jesus is alive today (a woman, living in secret and in fear for her life). Obviously, as Brown seems to assert, if the gospels are just huge cover-ups, then the resurrection would be just one more spin on the glittering wheel of deception.


What is the truth?

It is this: Jesus’ life, death and resurrection point us toward the source of all life, the source of the universe, of trees, of women and men, of marriage and offspring. Jesus is a river of love that God pours into the world. In the Resurrection he is now flowing back into the ocean of the Trinity and taking us along, whichever of us chooses to believe.

It is the resurrection. Do you believe in it?

If you do, then you believe that love is the foundation of life. Just put your finger into the mark of the nails, and put your hands into his side and you will find that love.

John Foley, SJ