Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter
(Acts 18:1-8; John 16:16-20)
Of all the innovations of the past fifty years none seems as incredible as walking on the moon. It was the first contact ever of a human being with a celestial object. Interestingly, after the Apollo program ended, humans have never landed again on a celestial body. When Jesus refers to his resurrection in today’s gospel, he speaks of a more extraordinary occurrence.
Jesus keeps saying, “…in a little while.” In fact, the phrase is used seven times in the passage. It refers to both his death and resurrection. “In a little while,” he will be crucified. Then in another “little while” he will rise from the dead. His disciples cannot appreciate what he means because the concept of individual resurrection is utterly novel. The Pharisees teach of a general resurrection. But that one person would rise independently from the dead is as foreign an idea as a moonwalk was in the nineteenth century.
We too may have difficulty believing in the resurrection. It is helpful to remember that Jesus’ was attested to by someone diametrically opposed to him. St. Paul persecuted Christians until Christ encountered him on the road to Damascus. The promise that Jesus’ resurrection gives of our own is essential. It fixes our eyes on eternal happiness when they are readily sidetracked by banal interests. Forty days after we first proclaimed Jesus’ rising this year, it is worth the effort to do so again.