Insanity, according to Einstein, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. One could say that Christ’s message to the Sadducees in today’s Gospel points out the insanity of their question.
This Sunday’s readings focus on the Resurrection, and it will be good to reflect on our own beliefs in or concepts of the Resurrection.
Almost a month ago, I started a series of conversations in one of the companies I consult for and work in as a spiritual adviser. The conversations are supposed to give the company a pulse of its employees’ perception of the company’s vision of service.
In one of the conversations, a young man shared how he would get so wrapped up in his work, but the company’s founding inspiration of service puts him back on track.
Another employee who had been involved in the company’s rescue and relief operations after strong typhoons shared that when they are in the field— sometimes for over 24 hours straight, and often at the risk of their own safety—what drives them is this motto to be in the service of others.
As I reflect on these, I could not help but feel that faith in the Resurrection is very similar to what these men shared.
Such a founding inspiration provides a perspective, a horizon within which they are able to find and give meaning to their work.
Such is the grace of the Resurrection for our Christian faith and the founding inspiration of our Christian community. Our horizon is the Resurrection or, as St. Paul put it, our citizenship is in heaven.
I have shared in many reflections how one of my mentors, Fr. Catalino G. Arevalo, S.J., described living out Ignatian Spirituality: to live one’s life within the horizon of a dream larger than life.
Now we see two levels of setting our life within the horizon of the Resurrection. One, it is the horizon that keeps our head above the water in the day to day and, two, it is the horizon that inspires us to “go forth and set the world on fire.”
It is the horizon of the Resurrection that dramatically and completely shifts our paradigm. Words fail to accurately describe the full power of the impetus to this shift: “Life does not end in death,” “what we have done will not be lost to all eternity, everything ripens and bears fruit in its own hour.”
The closest is what St. Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2: 20)
This is the game-changer. This is the power of the Resurrection that gives us not just freedom from sin, but the freedom to love.
There is a movie that we show to our public school teachers when we get to the module on the family. “City by the Sea” stars Robert De Niro and James Franco, as estranged father and son.
Vincent Lamarca (De Niro) is a cop who seems to have been hardened both by his family story—his father was a convicted child murderer—and his profession. Joey (Franco) a junkie, being a casualty of a broken family with no father figure, gets linked to the killing of a cop who happened to be Lamarca’s partner in the beat.
Joey becomes a fugitive and the potential flash point between father and son, rather than leading to a violent and tragic confrontation, becomes a moment of healing and reconciliation. Lamarca, still dealing with the demons of his past, chooses to overcome, turns in his badge and seeks his son, believing he is innocent and can be saved; the wounded now becomes a healer.
Joey hides and flees not just from the cops, but from his own father who is trying to save him. In a dramatic chase scene, Lamarca is able to convince his son to surrender and prove his innocence.
After his surrender, Joey is taken into police custody. As the police car starts to move, he looks back at his father and without hearing anything, one could read on his lips and see in his eyes Joey telling his father, “I love you.”
This is the power of the Resurrection. This is the power of love when we are able to set aside everything in order to love—a love that is healing and life-giving.
In a world that is filled with violence and hatred, it is a paradigm shift to believe that the power of love can overcome the dark forces of evil.
It is not a mere default mode for us Christians, but it is our very core; for in the Cross and the Resurrection we see the fullness of God’s love for us and for the whole of creation. —CONTRIBUTED