In the final column in our Soul Seeing for Lent series, published today, Franciscan Fr. Richard Rohr writes about the mystery of Resurrection, which, he says, we can begin to understand through examples given to us in modern science.
"It is not poetry to say that we were all once stardust, and what we are yet to be — is the good surprise, gift and pure grace of God," Rohr writes. "Now I find it hard to celebrate Easter in any other way, and as I am about to begin my 79th year, it no longer seems like a huge act of faith in a onetime miracle that no one can prove."
Modern science tells us that nothing is the same forever, he says. Ninety-eight percent of our bodies’ atoms are replaced every year. Landscapes are ever-changing. Water can also be fog or steam or ice. "Science is now giving us a very helpful language for what religion rightly intuited and imaged, albeit in mythological language."
"The Christian narrative is saying that reality's true story from the very beginning has always been Incarnation, that God's hiding place and place of epiphany is the physical world."
Whether we are gathered together socially distanced and masked in a physical church or connected via livestream to the liturgical celebrations during Holy Week, the challenge remains for us to attend to the way the Holy Spirit continues to speak to the church and world, not only about what Jesus accomplished millennia ago, but what the salvific work of Christ means for us today, writes columnist Fr. Daniel Horan.
An often overlooked aspect of Holy Thursday’s context, he says, is the scandal of Christ’s radical inclusivity. "The denial of Communion on account of an individual minister's decision insults the dangerous memory of the divine gift that is the Lord's Supper. We who are the church's ministers would do well to reflect on this tomorrow and beyond."
What we commemorate during the Passion of the Lord is the wrongful execution of an innocent man by the state, a scenario hardly removed from today’s political and moral struggles. And during this time of pandemic, Holy Saturday seems to take on new meaning as an invitation to pause and feel the uncertainty of what has transpired and what might still come.
This year’s Easter triduum is an occasion for prayerful reflection on the "scandalous relevance" of our faith for this time, writes Horan.
- Christopher White reported yesterday on a new study by Pew Research Center that finds that Catholics are divided along party lines over how authentic President Joe Biden’s faith is and whether or not he should be allowed to receive Communion.
- From Michael Sean Winters: “The thing I most love about Pope Francis is when he gives a sermon that really challenges us moderns. As the church began Holy Week, he delivered just such a sermon on Palm Sunday.”
- For Global Sisters Report, Sr. Jane Marie Bradish reflects on the extended vigil of the pandemic.