How to live Easter in the midst of so many crises?

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By LEONARDO BOFF*

The Resurrection is not the memory of a past, but the celebration of a present, always present, giving us joy.

Many crises are plaguing humanity: the economic crisis bringing down the big banks in central countries, the political crisis with the worldwide rise of right-wing and extreme right-wing policies, the crisis of democracies in almost all countries, the crisis of the State increasingly bureaucratized, the crisis of globalized capitalism that fails to solve the problems it itself created, generating an accumulation of wealth in very few hands in a sea of ​​poverty and misery, the ethical crisis, as values ​​of the great tradition of humanity no longer count, but postmodern anything goes (every think goes), the crisis of humanism because relations of hatred and barbarism prevail in social relations, the crisis of civilization that began to introduce autonomous artificial intelligence that articulates billions of algorithms, makes decisions, independent of human will, putting our common future at risk, the health crisis that hit all of humanity due to Covid-19, the ecological crisis that, if we do not take care of the biosphere, alerts us to a possible and terminal tragedy of the life-system and the Earth-system. Behind all these crises there is an even greater crisis: the crisis of the spirit which represents a crisis of human life on this planet.

Spirit is that moment in conscious life when we realize that we belong to a greater whole, earthly and cosmic, that we are at the mercy of a powerful and loving energy that sustains all things and ourselves. We have the specific faculty of being able to dialogue with it and open ourselves to it, identifying a greater meaning that permeates everything and that responds to our impulse of infinity. The life of the spirit (which neurologists call the “God spot” in the brain) is buried by the unstoppable desire to accumulate material goods, consumerism, selfishness and a profound lack of solidarity.

After August 1945, with the US dropping two nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we became aware that we can self-annihilate. This risk has increased with the arms race, now including nine nations, with chemical and biological weapons and around 16 nuclear warheads. The current war between Russia and Ukraine made Vladimir Putin threaten the use of nuclear weapons, bringing the apocalyptic fear of the end of the human species.

In this scenario, how to celebrate the greatest feast of Christendom which is Easter, the resurrection of the crucified, Jesus of Nazareth? Resurrection must not be understood as the reanimation of a dead body like that of Lazarus. Resurrection, in the words of St. Paul, represents the irruption of “thenovissimus adam (1Cor 15, 45), that is to say, of the new human being, whose infinite virtualities present in him (we are an infinite project) fully emerge. In this way it appears as a revolution in evolution, an anticipation of the good end of human life. The Risen One gained a cosmic dimension, never left the world and fills the entire universe.

In this sense, the Resurrection is not the memory of a past, but the celebration of a present, always present to bring us joy, a soft smile in the certainty that the slain death of Jesus of Nazareth, Good Friday, is just a passage to a life, free from death and fully realized: the resurrection. The gloomy horizon cleared and the sun of hope broke through.

Thinking in terms of the all-encompassing cosmogenic process, the resurrection is not outside of it. On the contrary, it is a new emergence of cosmogenesis and hence its universal value, beyond the leap of faith. Resurrection is the synthesis of dialectics, from which Hegel took his dialectic, of life (thesis), of death (antithesis) and of resurrection (synthesis). This is the end of it all, now anticipated for our joy. It is the true genesis, not of the beginning, but of the already reached end.

I consider St Mark's gospel version of the resurrection to be the most realistic and true. He ends the text with the risen Jesus, saying to the women: “Go and tell the apostles and Peter that he (the Risen One) goes before you in Galilee. There you will see him as I told you” (Mk 16,7:XNUMX). And so it ends. The reported apparitions, it is the conviction of scholars, would be a later addition. That is to say: we are all on our way to Galilee to meet the Risen One.

He was personally resurrected, but his resurrection was not complete until his brothers and sisters and the whole of nature were resurrected. We are on the way, waiting for the Risen One who has not yet fully revealed himself. For this reason, the world phenomenologically remains the same or worse, with wars and moments of peace, with goodness and perversity, as if there had not been a resurrection as a sign of overcoming this ambiguous reality.

Even so, after Christ rose, we can no longer be sad: the good end is guaranteed.

Happy Easter celebrations for all those who can make this journey and also for those who cannot.

*Leonardo Boff He is a theologian and philosopher. Author, among other books, of Christ's resurrection and ours in death (Vozes).


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