There's another big one coming, eventually, and I'll get back to that.
I'm a Catholic, so I take Sacred Scripture very seriously,1 including this:
"God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed - the sixth day."We've known that God's creation was big and old, and been impressed, for a long time:
"1 Think! The heavens, even the highest heavens, belong to the LORD, your God, as well as the earth and everything on it."I also believe that God is infinite and eternal, almighty and ineffable: beyond our power to describe or understand. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 202, 230)
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky proclaims its builder's craft."
"3 Raise your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth below; Though the heavens grow thin like smoke, the earth wears out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies, My salvation shall remain forever and my justice shall never be dismayed."
"4 Indeed, before you the whole universe is as a grain from a balance, or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth."
I might not have created a universe as big and old as the one we're in: but God's God, I'm not, and that's a good thing.
As I see it, what we're learning about the cosmic scale of this creation is cause for greater admiration of God's work, and that's another topic. (July 26, 2015; March 29, 2015; September 21, 2014)
I've said this before: God doesn't make junk.
The universe is basically good. So are we — basically. (Genesis 1:26-27, 31; Catechism, 31, 299,)
The first of us — Adam and Eve aren't German — listened to Satan, ignoring what God had said. Then Adam tried blaming his wife, and God, which did not end well. (Genesis 3:5-13)
That was a very, very long time ago. We've been living with the disastrous consequences of their decision ever since. (Catechism, 396-412)
Humanity is still made "in the divine image." (Genesis 1:27)
But loving ourselves, others, and God is a struggle because the harmony we had with ourselves and with the universe is broken. Human nature is wounded: but not corrupted. (Catechism, 355-361, 374-379, 398, 400, 405, 1701-1707, 1949)
About two thousand years ago, our Lord arrived:
"For God so loved the world that he gave 7 his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Shepherds and Magi thought it was good news, Herod didn't, and that's yet another topic. (January 3, 2016)
"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn 8 the world, but that the world might be saved through him."
The Word has become Flesh, true God and true man. (Catechism, 456-478)
We reviewed Luke's account of our Lord's final Passover meal last week; and kept reading until Luke 23:55-56, where some women spotted the tomb his body was in.
The whole week has been like that. Friday's Gospel, John 18:1-19:42, was similarly uncheerful:
"1 2 When he had said this, Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to where there was a garden, into which he and his disciples entered."There's been a lot of anguish, betrayal, torture, blood, and death, in this week's Sacred Scripture.
"So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; for the tomb was close by."
All four Gospels agree on what happened next, although the accounts don't quite match up: by American standards.2
"1 2 3 On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb."It took time and effort, but our Lord finally convinced the surviving Apostles that they weren't seeing a ghost. Our Lord had stopped being dead. (November 22, 2015; October 18, 2015)
That's where it gets interesting.
Two millennia later, we're still celebrating.
Pope St. John Paul II called the Resurrection of Jesus "the fundamental event upon which Christian faith rests ... the fulcrum of history."3
Death, physical death, happens: but it is not the end. (Catechism, 1007, 1010-1014, 1022, 1682)
"7 8 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.What happens next is up to each of us: whether we've decided to accept or reject God's grace, and what we've done with our life. (John 14:15; 2 Timothy 1:9-10; James 2:14-19; Catechism, 1021-1022, 1987-2016)
"9 For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead came also through a human being.
"For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,"
(1 Corinthians 15:20-22)
What our Lord expects is simple, but not easy.
I should love God, love my neighbor, see everyone as my neighbor, treat others as I want to be treated. (Matthew 7:12, Matthew 22:36-40, Mark 12:28-31; Matthew 5:43-44; Mark 12:28-31; Luke 10:25-30; Catechism, 1825)
I try to love God and neighbor because I follow the Man who is God: who died in my place; descended to the abode of the dead; rose from the tomb; and lives today and forever. (Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-11; 1 Peter 4:6; Catechism, 631-635, 638-655)
We are living in the eighth day of creation, a day of life and hope: and have been for two millennia. (Catechism, 349, 1166, 2174)
There's more to being a Christian than celebrating, and waiting for our Lord's return.4 We're expected to live as if loving our neighbors and loving God matter.
Truly respecting the "transcendent dignity" of humanity, and each person, isn't easy: but it's something we must do. Also building a better world for future generations. The job starts within each of us, with an ongoing "inner conversion." (Catechism, 1888, 1928-1942)
We've made some progress: and have a very great deal left to do.
As I said last year, my guess is that we'll still be waiting and working when the 8.2 kiloyear event, Y2K, and Y10K are seen as roughly contemporary. (December 28, 2014; November 23, 2014; October 26, 2014)
(From Jaime Jasso, via DeviantArt.com, used w/o permission.)
But — the war is over. We won. We're already in "the last hour," and have been for two thousand years. This world's renewal is in progress, and nothing can stop it. (Matthew 16:18; Mark 16:6; Catechism, 638, 670)
More of my take on the best news ever:
- "The Messiah We Need"
(March 20, 2016)
- "Stones, Sin, and Mercy"
(March 13, 2016)
- "Names and THE Name"
(February 28, 2016)
- "Death? Been There, Done That"
(April 5, 2015)
- "Joy and Standing Orders"
(October 5, 2014)
1 Reading the Bible is a very Catholic thing:
"The Church 'forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful. . . to learn the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ, by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.112"It's literally 'Catholicism 101:'
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 133)
2 As I keep saying, Sacred Scripture wasn't written from a contemporary Western viewpoint:
- "Taking the Bible Seriously"
(February 21, 2016)
- "Space Archaeologist, 55 Cancri e"
(February 19, 2016)
- "Precision-Grip Thumbs and a 'New' Archosaur "
(January 30, 2015)
- "Earth's Wandering Poles, A Comet, a Wobbling Moon"
(October 24, 2014)
"...The Resurrection of Jesus is the fundamental event upon which Christian faith rests (cf. 1 Cor 15:14). It is an astonishing reality, fully grasped in the light of faith, yet historically attested to by those who were privileged to see the Risen Lord. It is a wondrous event which is not only absolutely unique in human history, but which lies at the very heart of the mystery of time. In fact, 'all time belongs to [Christ] and all the ages', as the evocative liturgy of the Easter Vigil recalls in preparing the Paschal Candle. Therefore, in commemorating the day of Christ's Resurrection not just once a year but every Sunday, the Church seeks to indicate to every generation the true fulcrum of history, to which the mystery of the world's origin and its final destiny leads...."More about the Resurrection:
("Dies Domini," Pope Saint John Paul II (Pentecost, May 31, 1998))
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 638-655
- "Fear of resurrection"
Pope Francis, via L'Osservatore Romano (19 September 19, 2014)
- "A mystery of hope, forgiveness and resurrection"
Luigi Giussani Jubilee 2000 magazine (2000)
- "Address to organizers and members of the Symposium on the Resurrection of Christ"
Pope Blessed Paul VI (April 4, 1970)
- "Christ the source of resurrection and life"
From an Easter homily by an ancient author (Sermo 35, 6-9; PL 17 [ed. 1879], 696-697)
Prepared by the Spiritual Theology Department of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross
(From Wily Miller's Non Sequitur, June 14, 2011 and May 3, 2010, used w/o permission.)
More of my take on Final Judgment and getting a grip:
- "Taking the Bible Seriously"
(February 21, 2016)
- "Doomsday Du Jour — or — Doing My Job"
(April 19, 2015)
- "Victory and Standing Orders"
(November 23, 2014)