24th Week, Friday, Sept 18

 1 Cor 15:12-20 / Luke 8:1-3

Paul talks about our resurrection: Christ has been raised. 

 In his book “The Year of My Rebirth”, Jesse Stuart, the Kentucky poet, tells how his family planted Irish potatoes each year on Good Friday, the day of Jesus' crucifixion. Sometimes the snow fell after that date and the potatoes would lie lifeless in the cold ground, just as Jesus did. Then one day a miracle took place.

"Suddenly, the crumpled dark-green leaves would peak through the dark crust of earth." Reflecting on this unfailing miracle of nature, Stuart says: "How can I possibly doubt the resurrection of Almighty God's Son when every springtime I have seen the process of resurrection.  "I have faith—that when man, the seed of God, is placed in the ground he will be resurrected to new life." 


For the apostles the Cross and resurrection are the centre of their faith. "If the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised either". The connection between our resurrection and his is this: Christ came down for us, and for our salvation. The life of Christ, God-made man, has no meaning unless it is for the salvation of men. He came down  to make good Adam's sin, to open heaven for us. If he had died and not risen again on the third day, death would have been the end and his life meaningless. Our faith would be in vain. Redemption would have no meaning. The apostles would be false witnesses, our hope an illusion; those who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost like all unbelievers. There is no remission of sins; we are still in our sins. Every Christian is drawn into the mystery of Christ's death and resurrection. It is the question of our whole existence. Life without this faith is meaningless. 

St. Paul expressed his conviction about the resurrection of Jesus even to the extent that he and those who proclaimed the resurrection and are shown up as witnesses would have committed perjury before God since they swore before God that He had raised Christ to life.


Where do we find other evidences of the resurrection? "We are Easter people." St. Augustine of Hippo 


Good news, like all news, wants to be spread. For this, Christ need an organised effort and team work. He chose for his team a motley but a dedicated group. Already the team of his apostles were a selection of different characters and temperaments. There were women in the company not as preachers, but to look after the needs of them. This astonishes even today. The Jerusalem Bible gives this passage the heading. "The women accompanying Jesus", forgetting the Twelve and the many others that were with him. The first name is that of Mary Magdalene, traditionally the sinful woman he had met in Simon’s house; Joanna the wife of Chuza, who was the steward of Herod, which means his finance administrator. This made her a woman of wealth and influence. Susanna is just the good efficient woman, anxious to serve. Did he call them sisters? Every talent was welcome. They had to work in unity as a team and make many sacrifices touring. Their job was the greatest: Bringing Christ to the world. 


To do volunteer work is a matter of choice. We can choose to do it or we may choose not to do it. And if we choose to do volunteer work, then we will see if it suits our availability and our suitability. In other words, we usually do volunteer work according to what we choose to do, and usually it is at our convenience.

In the gospel, we hear of a group of people following Jesus in His mission of preaching and proclaiming the Good News. It was like a motley collection of people of various statuses in society. Besides the Twelve, there were also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and ailments, like Mary Magdalene and Susanna. More than just being volunteers, they provided for the group out of their own resources. They don't choose to give out of their own convenience but according to what the group required. For these women, they have a conviction of who Jesus is and of His mission. They had experienced it for themselves and that led to their conviction.

For St. Paul and those who followed Jesus, to serve God is certainly not a voluntary work that is done in their terms and conditions. For them to serve and witness to the Lord is a choice and a conviction. May we also have the conviction to make the same choice.


Let us pray: Lord our God, men and women are responsible together for the life of faith of our Christian communities. As they were disciples of Jesus and his companions on the road, may they also accompany us today, with their identity and potentials, that the Church may grow and its faith be alive and imbued with love. We ask you this through Christ our Lord.