A man in Manila puts the finishing touches to an image of the Suffering Christ. How may we set about creating an image of the Risen Christ? Is such a thing possible?It will help us if we remember that the church refers to the Sundays following Easter NOT as Sundays AFTER Easter but as Sundays OF Easter. In that way we are reminded that the resurrection of Jesus is not something to be left like a fossil in the pages of history, but something for us to explore against the background of our own life experiences.
So when we come to think of the Resurrection of the Lord, we must not only remember the story as told in the scriptures, but also the ongoing story of our own lives.
Take for example the Gospel story that occurs well after Easter Sunday , the fifth Sunday OF Easter in fact, John 14: 1 – 12.
Lots of people will remember the words, " Do not let your hearts be troubled" and so on. They occur often in funeral Masses. Priests and Deacons may feel they know it by heart. But though we do like to use this passage to steady our nerves at such difficult times as funerals, it would be a mistake to think that it is recorded for just such a purpose.
John 14: 1 - 12 is part of the Gospel as a whole and is meant to put our whole lives into the context of the Resurrection of Jesus.
Just how do we picture the Risen One?
There are many masterpieces of art that attempt to portray Jesus, Risen from the Tomb, but almost inevitably these may mainly focus on the fact of his having risen, the event itself, if you like. .
What we may need even more is some way of picturing not just that he rose, but that HE IS RISEN, he is Alive, a vital presence in our own living and in the life of the world around us.
How can we possibly picture such a thing?
Here, even the great masters of art may not be too much help. It is something we can and must do for ourselves. We have all that is necessary to paint this picture; a faith that speaks to us from the experiences of daily living, making our hearts burn within us with excitement, not simply from the past which may only serve to make us wish that we had been there, but from the daily reality we ourselves live.
The Lord leaves us in no doubt. This is not a work we can look at in a book, or buy in an art gallery, it is a work we must set ourselves to do for ourselves: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still, and trust in me."
It may well be that if we are searching for an image of the RISEN Lord, we could begin by looking in a mirror, just so long as we remember to look deeper than the facial image we see there. Look behind the face to the life that is being lived in that person. That is our way of doing what he said his disciples should do, “go back to Galilee (their home place), they will see me there”