What has not entered the human heart, God has revealed to us through the Spirit (1 Cor 2, 9. 10)
Jesus was so rejected he ended up crucified. Since no slave is greater than his master, we Christians run into people who oppose us. They question the core of our faith, characterizing it absurd. Do we explain our hope with gentleness, reverence and a clear conscience?
The Sadducees attempt to trap Jesus in a contradiction. He answers that belief in the resurrection is absurd only to those who do not dare break out of the mold and go beyond the way they think and live that they project into the future. Perhaps, they are those “who have a limited perspective” (St. Vincent de Paul–Coste XII, 92), as closed-minded as the pastor who insists, against all evidence, that President Obama does not say “God” when he recites the Pledge of Allegiance.
We get confronted by modern Sadducees too (even if not every opposition means “sign of contradiction”—1 Pt 4, 15). There are people who gratuitously assume that to affirm the resurrection is wishful thinking. They mock believers; they think that their search for the permanent city that is to come is cheating them out of the joys and the opportunities of the present. And not without reason, for not infrequently we take Christian hope as a palliative, letting ourselves be manipulated by the rich who use the cross as an ideology to oppress the helpless.
These rich people are more dangerous opponents than those who insult us. They are idolized. They represent power, well-being, security, the fittest, select and lasting progeny, consolidated inheritance. They embody human aspirations and influence many. We are not a few, those who can admit, “My feet came close to stumbling, my steps had almost slipped, for I was filled with envy of the proud when I saw how the wicked prosper” (Ps 73, 2-3). Rightly does St. Bernard urge us, “As members of that head, crowned with thorns, we should be ashamed of our luxury and our search for any purple robe that will be of honor and not of mockery.”
True disciples go beyond the conventional; they go to Jesus outside the camp. They live up to Jesus’ paradoxes: “blessed are you who are poor”; “the last will be the first”; “the one who humbles himself will be exalted”; “whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant”; “if the grain of wheat … dies, it produces much fruit.” They see the Son of God represented by the destitute (Coste XI, 32).
Authentic Christians are not consumed by the unfettered and endless pursuit of titles of reverence, of positions of honor, gain and power, of promotions. The Eucharist, pledge of future glory, keeps them steadfast in their hope in the one who encourages and strengthens them, and will raise them up to live again forever. They do not behave like careerists who live as though Christian hope were a matter of this life only.
Ross Reyes Dizon