Pastoral Reflections April 23, 2017

          A Note from Fr. Gary -

          He is Risen! Alleluia!! As a Church, we celebrate Easter for 50 days. This past week, Easter Week, we celebrated from Sunday through this Sunday as if every day was Easter Sunday. This “Octave” is a way for us to linger over the profound truth of the Resurrection of Jesus. Until June 3-4, Pentecost weekend, we will continue to “unpack” the implications of the Resurrection.

          During these days, I would like to share with you reflections on the Resurrection from various Catholic thinkers, writers and theologians. Today’s reflections come from an article on the Catholic news site, CRUX, on April 16, by Fr. Robert Imbelli, entitled, “Benedict XVI at 90: Why his theology still matters.”

          Last Sunday, Easter Sunday, also marked the 90th birthday of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. His central theme throughout his long life and his ministry as a theologian, a teacher and a leader in our Church, has been the Resurrection. Here are some reflections from our pope emeritus, one of the most thoughtful theologians of our time.

          In a programmatic article, dating from 1967, the young Joseph Ratzinger wrote:

          “All Christian theology, if it is to be true to its origins, must be first and foremost a theology of Resurrection. It must be a theology of Resurrection before it is a theology of the justification of the sinner; it must be a theology of Resurrection before it is a theology of the metaphysical Sonship of God. It can be a theology of the Cross, but only as and within the framework of a theology of Resurrection. Its first and primordial statement is the good tidings that the power of death, the one constant of history, has in a single instance been broken by the power of God and that history has thus been imbued with an entirely new hope. In other words, the core of the gospel consists in the good tidings of the Resurrection and, thus, in the good tidings of God’s action, which precedes all human doing.”

          One discerns here an echo of St. Paul’s decisive insistence: If Christ Jesus is not risen, both preaching and faith are vain, mere delusions (1 Cor 15:14).

          Forty years later, preaching at the 2007 Easter Vigil, Benedict XVI would proclaim this Easter Good News once again:

          “In the resurrection of Jesus, love has been shown to be stronger than death, stronger than evil. Love made Christ descend, and love is also the power by which he ascends. The power by which he brings us with him. In union with his love, borne aloft on the wings of love, as persons of love, let us descend with him into the world’s darkness, knowing that in this way we will also rise up with him. On this night, then, let us pray: Lord, show us that love is stronger than hatred, that love is stronger than death. Descend into the darkness and the abyss of our modern age, and take by the hand those who await you. Bring them to the light! In my own dark nights, be with me to bring me forth! Help me, help all of us, to descend with you into the darkness of all those people who are still waiting for you, who out of the depths cry unto you! Help us to bring them your light! Help us to say the “yes” of love, the love that makes us descend with you and, in so doing, also to rise with you. Alleluia. Amen!”

          God Bless,

          Fr. Gary Lazzeroni

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