POSTSCRIPT / April 8, 2012 / Sunday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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‘I died… behold I am alive for evermore!’

DEFINING LINE: There is this short podcast “The Vortex” hosted by Michael Voris that you might want to watch this Easter Sunday: http://www.realcatholictv.com/daily/?today=2012-04-03.

In it, we are told again that Easter is more than the Resurrection, and that the Resurrection is more than Christ rising from the dead as he said he would.

Voris says: “It is the central holding of Christianity, as St. Paul reminds us. And it is even more than a central holding, it is THE dividing line of all human history.

“Some 2,000 years ago, the followers of a man who said he was God began telling people that he rose from the dead, that they saw him, ate with him, touched him, heard him and saw him ascend 40 days later.

“The Resurrection: Truth or Lie. No in-between. True — and Catholicism is divinely guaranteed and the only legitimate religion. False — and the Church is a gigantic deception.”

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EITHER-OR: Voris says: “If Jesus did not rise, then Christianity is a hopeless joke built on a myth of unimaginable proportions. Since the affairs of world history have been essentially driven by Christianity since the time of Christ — nations and empires coming into reality as well as passing away, for example — then practically all of humanity’s historical record for the past two millennia is centered around a hoax. All of it.

“And it would also mean that the oldest institution on the planet, the Catholic Church, is a total fraud. Even if you discount what would-be well-intentioned nice people who did some nice things for other people, like building hospitals and teaching people how to read and write, all of this would still be based on a lie.

“Now, on the other hand, if the resurrection did happen, then it means that Jesus Christ is God — and what his Church teaches is not only right, but objectively right and divinely guaranteed.”

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MORE REAL TO US: From the Vatican, via Zenit.org, here are pertinent excerpts from the Good Friday homily that the preacher of the Pontifical Household, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, gave during the celebration of the Passion of the Lord in St. Peter’s Basilica:

“There is an essential difference between the representation of Christ’s death and that, for example, of the death of Julius Caesar in Shakespeare’s tragedy. No one celebrates as a living person the anniversary of his own death. Christ does, because he is risen. Only he can say, as he does in Revelation: ‘I died, and behold I am alive ever more’ (Revelation 1:18).

“We must be careful on this day, visiting the so-called sepulchers or taking part in processions of the dead Christ, not to merit the reproach that the Risen One addressed to the pious women on Easter morning: ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead?’

“In other words, it is more true and real for us who relive it ‘according to the Spirit,’ than it was for those who lived it ‘according to the flesh,”’ before the Holy Spirit revealed the full meaning to the Church.”

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TAKE A STAND: “We are not only celebrating an anniversary but a mystery. It is not just a question of attending a representation, but of ‘accepting’ the significance, of passing from spectators to actors.

“It is up to us therefore to choose what part we want to play in the drama, who we wish to be: Peter, Judas, Pilate, the crowd, the Cyrenean, John, Mary…. No one can remain neutral; not take a position, means to take a very precise one: Pilate’s who washes his hands or the crowd ‘standing by, watching.’

“All this does not happen automatically, just because we have taken part in the liturgy. It is a question of ‘accepting’ the meaning of the mystery. This happens with faith. There is no music where there is no ear to hear it, no matter how loud the orchestra sounds; there is no grace where there is no faith to receive it.

“In an Easter homily of the 4th Century, the bishop pronounced these extraordinarily modern, and one could say existentialist, words: ‘For every man, the beginning of life is when Christ was immolated for him. However, Christ is immolated for him at the moment he recognizes the grace and becomes conscious of the life procured for him by that immolation.’

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TAKE OFF YOUR RAGS: “In Rome, as unfortunately in all big cities, there are so many homeless people, human persons who only have a few rags upon their body and some poor belongings that they carry along in a plastic bag.

“Let us imagine that one day this voice spreads: On Via Condotti (everyone knows what Via Condotti represents in Rome!) there is the owner of a fashion boutique who, for some unknown reason, whether out of interest or generosity, invites all the homeless of Termini railway station to come to her shop. She invites them to take off their soiled rags, to have a good shower and then choose the garment they want among those displayed and take it away free of charge.

“All say in their heart: ‘This is a fairy-tale, it never happens!’ Very true, but what never happens among men is what can happen every day between men and God, because, before Him, we are those homeless people!

“This is what happens in a good confession: You take off your dirty rags, your sins, receive the bath of mercy and rise ‘clothed in the garments of salvation, covered with the robe of righteousness.’”

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of April 8, 2012)

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