Easter – the irruption of the unexpected

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By LEONARDO BOFF*

Without the resurrection there would be no Christian communities. They would lose their founding and founding event.

Christians celebrate at Easter what it means: the passage. In our context, it is the transition from disappointment to the eruption of the unexpected. Here the disappointment is the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth and the unexpected, his resurrection.

He was someone who went around the world doing good. More than doctrines, he introduced practices always linked to the life of the weakest: he cured the blind, purified leprosy, made the lame walk, restored health to many sick people, killed the hunger of multitudes and even raised the dead. We know his tragic end: a plot woven between religious and politicians led him to death on the cross.

Those who followed him, apostles and disciples, with the tragic end of the crucifixion were deeply frustrated. All but the women who were also following him began to return to their homes. Disappointed, as they hoped it would bring deliverance to Israel. Such frustration clearly appears in the two disciples of Emmaus, probably a couple who walked full of sadness. To someone who joined them on the way, they say plaintively: “We expected him to be the one to free Israel, but it’s been three days since they condemned him to death” (Lucas 24, 21). This companion later revealed himself as the risen Jesus, recognized in the way he blessed the bread, broke it and distributed it.

Resurrection was beyond the horizon of his followers. There was a group in Israel who believed in the resurrection but at the end of time, the resurrection understood as a return to life as it always was.

But with Jesus the unexpected happened, because in history the unexpected and improbable can always happen. But the unexpected here is of another nature, a really improbable and unexpected event: the resurrection. It must be well understood: it is not a matter of reanimating a corpse like that of Lazarus. Resurrection represents a revolution within evolution. The good end of human history is anticipated. It signifies the unexpectedness of the irruption of the new human being, as São Paulo says, of the “brand new Adam”.

This event really is the embodiment of the unexpected. Teilhard de Chardin, whose mystique is all centered on resurrection as an absolute novelty within the process of evolution, called it a “tremendous”, something, therefore, that moves the entire universe.

This is the fundamental faith of Christians. Without the resurrection there would be no Christian communities. They would lose their founder and founding event.

Finally, it should be noted that the two greatest mysteries of the Christian faith are closely linked to women: the incarnation of the Son of God with Mary (Lucas 1,35) and the resurrection with Mary of Magadala (John 20,15). Part of the Church, the hierarchical one, hostage to cultural patriarchy, did not attribute any theological relevance to this singular fact. It is certainly part of God's design and should be welcomed as something culturally innovative.

In these dark times, marked by death and even the eventual disappearance of the human species, faith in resurrection opens up a future of hope for us. Our end is not self-destruction within a tragedy, but the full realization of our potential through resurrection, the irruption of the new man and woman.

Happy Easter to all who can believe and also to those who cannot.

*Leonardo Boff he is a theologian. Author, among other books, of Christ's Resurrection and Ours in Death (Voices).

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