Musing on the Resurrection

UPDATE ON “NOT IN INK” : The Lord is Risen! Alleluia, Alleluia! Truly, He is Risen! Alleluia, Alleluia! I hope everyone is having a wonderful Easter Monday, or as it is called in Italy, “Pasqueta” — or “Little Easter.” I apologize that I wasn’t able to update you all with too many meditations/musings during Holy Week, but I hope you all liked the Good Friday meditation on the Centurion. If you haven’t read it yet, check it out.

Because these (somewhat daily) meditations/musings were part of my Lenten regiment, I won’t be updating the blog as often. But, I would like to continue updating it with musings and meditations. My goal right now is to post something for you lovely readers maybe once or twice a week.

Please continue to read the blog, and pray for me and my family. I am praying for all of you, and I wish you the greatest and most blessed joys of the Easter season! Thanks!

A Musing on the Resurrection

As He was going [to Jerusalem]… the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, shouting: “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!” –Luke 19:36-40

Yesterday, on my way home from Easter Sunday Mass, I was — as is my Easter tradition — jammin’ out to Ron Kenoly, a 90s Christian/Gospel artist. The last song on the album is called “Ain’t Gonna Let No Rock.”

Of course, as it is Easter, I thought of the story of the women disciples finding the tomb empty on the first day of the week:

Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. –Matthew 28:1-4

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him. Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” Looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large. –Mark 16:1-5

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. –Luke 24:1-3

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. –John 20:1

All four Gospels speak of a body-less tomb, and each four remark that the stone was rolled away — the tomb was unsealed. Death was conquered! Christ was victorious!

Now remember Jesus’ words on His entrance to Jerusalem: “If (my disciples) keep quiet, even the stones will cry out!”

After Jesus’ death and burial on Good Friday, the disciples were silent. Judas had killed himself; Peter had denied Jesus; all of the 12 Apostles except John had abandoned Him after He was arrested in the Garden. Their Master and Teacher was dead — cold, executed, and defeated. They did not remember what He had told them. They were in mourning.

But, while they kept their silence, even the stones — or at least, one large stone in particular, cried out. Maybe its voice was not heard. But, its presence was known all the same, because every Christian knows the story of the stone that was rolled away, of the tomb that was empty.

Can you imagine what that stone would have said, if it could cry out? What mysteries it would have told?

The stone was, in an essence, the first to see and hear the Gospel, the Good News — that Christ is risen from the grave! It was, alongside the angel, the first herald of His Resurrection!

That stone, if it had a soul, if it had a voice, would have proclaimed the Gospel message to those women who came weeping and mourning to the tomb that Sunday morning. It would have told them immediately Who Had Risen; it would have turned their tears into shouts of joy!

And, so we must do the same. We are an Easter people, and “Alleluia” is our song! Our God Lives! He has conquered sin and death, and has risen from the grave!

God did not give that stone a voice, yet it proclaimed the Good News all the same!

Shouldn’t we then proclaim the Good News — the Joy of the Resurrected Lord — all the louder? All the more clearly? For indeed, God has given us tongues to proclaim, and hands to share the Good News with our Brothers and Sisters in the Lord!

For while the stone in front of the tomb may have been the first herald of the Resurrection, we should not let it be the last! We cannot be quiet and timid like the disciples; we should not be afraid or unbelieving of the Easter message, as they were at first.

For, if we do, even the stones will cry out instead. And, as Ron Kenoly says, “I ain’t gonna let no rock out-praise me!”

Let us continue our Christian mission of proclaiming the Gospel — the Good News — so that we may make Christ’s presence among us known throughout all the world.

For, we are an Easter people, and “Alleluia” is our song!

THE LORD IS RISEN, ALLELUIA, ALLELUIA! TRULY HE IS RISEN, ALLELUIA, ALLELUIA!

Musing on Jesus in the Desert

Musing on Jesus in the Desert

“Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry.” – Luke 4: 1-2

I’ve only been in the desert once, that I can remember. It was when I went to Las Vegas a few years ago. (I went with my family to see a concert.) I remember reading on the Internet beforehand that we should take bottles of water with us whenever we went out on the strip. The website said that because you’re in the desert, which is a dry heat, your sweat evaporates off your body more quickly. Before you know it, you’re exhausted and dehydrated, even after just an hour walking around outside.

If you have never been in the desert, it is a perpetual dry sauna. It seems like there is no moisture in the air; and there’s hardly any wind. (At least, where I was; I realize there are other deserts that are plenty windy.) It seems that you are gradually baking or melting with each passing step. Water and air conditioning are long lost friends, and you wonder why you ever left their company in the first place.

That’s why when I was reading last week’s Gospel in preparation for the First Sunday of Lent, after the first lines where it said Jesus was hungry, I thought, why wasn’t he thirsty? Perhaps he took water with him, but that would have to be large amount to last 40 days in the desert.

Jesus, being fully human, wouldn’t he be hot? Exhausted? Dehydrated? Sun-burnt? If I had to survive 40 days in the desert, and I was fasting the whole time, I don’t think I could concentrate on anything else except my own physical experiences – thirst, hunger, pain, etc.

Yet, from what we know through the Gospel, Jesus manages to overcome these human sufferings. Yes, he probably had those experiences (I would assume) of thirst, hunger, discomfort, pain, exhaustion, and so on.

But, then I realized, Jesus is able to endure those sufferings because he has the greatest comfort – the greatest companionship – His Father and the Holy Spirit.

Jesus spent his 40 days in the desert talking to and spending time with His Father. He is teaching us that while human experiences are important, communion with the Heavenly Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the most important experience we can have.

Yes, it is probably painful to endure 40 days in the desert with little to no food. I’m sure Jesus was praying in some tough conditions (physically, mentally, etc.) But, people endure other painful experiences everyday with their loved ones beside them. Why can’t Jesus do the same? What is pain and suffering if you are in the company of the One You Love Most?

As many theologians have pointed out, the devil’s three temptations of bread, kingdoms, and testing God correspond to the “Three Enemies of the Rational Soul” : the flesh (bread), the world (riches, power, etc.), and the devil (testing God).

Yet, I would point out the first verse of Luke 4 again: Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil.

I would contend that Jesus overcame the Three Enemies two-fold: firstly, through the devil’s temptations; but secondly, through his retreat into prayer with His Father.

The Spirit led Him away from the world, into the desert for 40 days to fast, which was a voluntary, physical suffering, to be tempted by the devil. Through Jesus’ time prayer and communion with His Father, he overcame the Three Enemies by voluntarily:

  • removing Himself from the world and its temptations
  • denying Himself the comforts of food, water, shelter, etc., and
  • subjecting Himself to continued temptations by the devil.

Through his seclusion, suffering, and temptations, Jesus teaches us that while our mission on the Earth is important – as Jesus did return to His Ministry after His days of prayer and fasting in the desert – the most important thing is our relationship with God.

Because, as the Gospels say: Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.¬†We are called to be in the world, but not of it; because the Three Enemies are not eternal. The world will end; we will be resurrected without the same desires of the flesh; the Devil – through his “brainchildren” (so to speak) sin and death – has been conquered and will continue to be conquered. Yet, God is eternal. Thus, our time and our love should be given to the One Who Endures, and not to the things that will fade away.

That is the point of Lent: to do as Jesus did. To commune with God in a special way as we sacrifice our comforts, allowing ourselves to be tempted, and – through God’s grace, we pray – conquer those temptations.

So, let us continue this time – this journey – in the desert communing Our Lord.