Does the Resurrection of Jesus change anything? By the time of Christ, Jews tended to believe in a general resurrection at the restoration of all things. The idea that one man would be delivered definitively from death before the consummation of history just didn’t fit into the Jewish worldview. Is it the case that the present postmortem bodily existence of Jesus (and Mary) is simply a premature exception to regular resurrection timing? Is Easter just a quirky sneak peak of coming eschatological attractions?
In fact, the Resurrection of Jesus is the means by which the general resurrection of the dead, and the transformation of the world, can come about at all. The hinge of the ages is the Paschal Mystery, as the culmination of the Incarnation: Passion, Cross, Descent, Resurrection—all concentrated in the Eucharist. The mysteries of the Triduum are how the Trinitarian life becomes the most intimate rhythm of the consubstantial mass of humanity, and therefore of history and the cosmos—of which man, male and female, is microcosm and mediator.
On this Divine Mercy Sunday, we see the blood and water of the Sacred Heart of Jesus as the extremity of the Father’s plan of loving goodness. By the white and red rays of love, we are drawn into the Son, and therefore into the Trinitarian processions.
The Church flows from the pierced Heart of Jesus, the dead God, the silenced Word of the Father, for He loves to the end with an endless Love. By limitless love, He goes from topless top, the Father, even unto thwarting the bottomlessness of hell. His Love is the End of all things, source and goal, height and depth. Thus Jesus contains every limit within Himself, intensively and definitively, on Easter, while opening Himself to gather, extensively and progressively, the entire weight of human existence into His Body throughout the rest of time.
The Eucharist is the Triduum encompassed in vulnerable form, and it is as Eucharist that Jesus patiently encompasses cosmos and history within the eternal Trinitarian processions. Beyond the intensive recapitulation of all things that occurs in the Paschal Mystery, Jesus carries out an extensive recapitulation through the Church, because He wants to include us as cooperators in His mission of Love. Love always wants a partner. Co-redemption is essential to the Father’s plan of loving goodness; it’s not some optional add-on. (This is why Marian piety is intrinsically necessary for maintaining a balanced Christian faith: the mystery of Mary is first of all the mystery of the Partner, the mystery of co-redemption.)
The Gospel reading for Easter Friday presents one of the most poignant of the Resurrection passages: John 21:1-14. It is redolent of all the morning newness, so new as to be almost strange, but strange because so real, of lovers seeing each other after an absence of months. Peter, James, John, Bartholomew (Nathanael), Thomas (and two other nameless ones) are fishing on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus, unrecognizable, is cooking a breakfast of fish on the beach.
They haven’t caught anything (we can do nothing without Christ), and Jesus calls out to tell them to cast their nets on the other side. Suddenly the bounty of the sea comes to them.
There is here obedience, benevolence, miracle, sharing the rhythms of life: what happens when love is electric, in dawn, true.
After Jesus brings about the extravagant haul of fish, they join Him for breakfast. They add some of the fish they have caught, precisely what Jesus has provided for their catching, a perfect image of co-redemption: “When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish that you have just caught’” (v. 9-10).
And Jesus takes what He has enabled them to give, and gives it back eucharistically: “Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish likewise” (v. 13).
Jesus proceeds from the Father in the Spirit of Love and wonder and gratitude. Jesus is Eucharist eternally. But the Son is now Eucharist as the slain and risen Lamb. He is food by which we grow into the Trinitarian wonderland.
At this breaking of the long fast of history, there’s bread, but instead of wine, there’s fish. I think one meaning of this is that the whole world has now become the means by which Jesus communicates Trinitarian love.
His Heart has been pierced. All things have been drawn into the wounded God. The Father has justified each of us, and thus transfigured the world, in raising His lost and so-prodigal Son from the dead. The whole world is becoming eucharistic because Jesus has passed from death to life. Everything has changed. Everything is changing.