“He who was really dead is really alive. This cry of joy and hope expressed by many concerns the body of Jesus. They find Jesus alive in different moments, essential to their lives. Yes, it is the same Jesus, ever attentive to the seriousness of their lives and to all their humanity. The disciples, on their way, meet the Risen One, while they were in despair and went back home to Emmaus with their hopes shattered. The fishermen, who meet Him at the end of a night without taking anything. The dead friendship, enlightened by Jesus, that these women brought to Jesus (who knew so well how to recognise their dignity) on the way to the tomb where they went for the definitive gesture of embalming his dead body. The gesture and the words of Peter and John, touched by the terrible situation of a crippled beggar for whom they stop, as Jesus did. They lift him up “In the name of Jesus”, they lift him up. This man is now on his feet, raised from social and almost physical death.
With Christ, reborn to hope
It is as if what was “irreparable” (death, the absence of solutions) is “repaired”. Hope can be reborn, and how; they cannot fail to announce the victory of the Father over the death of his Son. Jesus is at the same time the same as before and different… And they are invited to take another look: where it was total darkness with their projects definitively locked up in the tomb of the dead Jesus, Jesus is in them like a burning fire; he is also around them; he says to them “Go, it is up to you to do, to say, to celebrate, and I am with you always”.
In the midst of the world
It is in the midst of the world that the Risen One meets them, not on the margins of this world nor in another world. Each of Christ’s disciples can live this unheard-of experience as long as they adopt Jesus’ attitudes of heart; his empathy, his prayer, his rereading in the Church of what he sees of the Father’s action.
I think of Marie-Noëlle; I am no longer the parish priest where she lives. She confided in me by text message about the financial difficulties (to feed herself) that she and her son were experiencing. She wrote to me: “I used to leave foodstuffs at the parish so that poor people who went to the parish reception desk could benefit from them; does this service continue? I phone her and she tells me that a temporary solution has been found. I can’t tell her if this service still exists.
While listening to her, I can’t help but feel a sense of regret: what a pity Marie-Noëlle hasn’t joined a sharing group yet! She has a “sense of others” and she has faith, although she is quite isolated; but I am no longer the parish priest in this parish and to interfere in this process would be frowned upon. So it’s too late! “It’s dead”, as they say.
I was in this bitter state when I learned an hour later from a friend that the ACO team in which she was doing a life review was meeting on that very day. The two women live in the same neighbourhood. The contact was made between them, and Marie-Noëlle agreed to take part in this team in the afternoon. Marie-Noëlle’s hope and convictions were rekindled by the sharing she was going to experience in the team, in a social life that was welcome in the times she was going through! What seemed irreparable to me can also be seen as a “not yet repaired” by the work of the Father!
Making something new out of something old
Yes, so many things are irreparable in so many lives around us, and perhaps also in ourselves. Moreover, Nicodemus, when he met Jesus, said to him “Can one be reborn when one is old? St. John tells us that Jesus said, “You can be born again from water and the Spirit”. In other words, your baptism unites you to Christ in his death and resurrection.
Hope is in Christ
Looking at the life Jesus gave for all his brothers and sisters, my hope is reborn to be integrated into this crazy mystery of God’s love for his Son and for the humanity that his Son presents to him. Jesus presented himself with us, with all of us, to the Father in the offering of his life to the cross. Perhaps what is “irreparable” will be repaired. The Father, the Son and the Spirit have not yet shown their life-giving power in us and around us.
Anchored in hope
We are allowed to hope with more hope for those who are in death, whether physical, psychological, material or social. This requires us to be like the Son, completely human and completely offered to the Father. Let us develop these two directions; let us train ourselves (or facilitate people’s access) in the psychological means that raise the human level (psychological accompaniment, spiritual accompaniment, non-violent communication…). And to entrust ourselves more to the Father; “Into your hands I commend my life”.
Priest of the diocese of Cambrai