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Resurrection Sunday Mark 16:1-8 Don Headley
Mark's narrative of Jesus' passion is filled with details about the people around him; this is Jesus’ last great lesson to his disciples. Jesus is not on trial, but rather life's ritualistic and legal components, all the noncreative elements that permeate our society. We are certain as we hear the centurion's words at Jesus’ death that everything has ended; the world and its prophet has died. Joseph of Arimathea comes by only to sweep up after the cataclysm.
Mark's narrative brings us to the perfect ending which then becomes the most spectacular of beginnings. Mark's history of the Resurrection is like the Resurrection itself; nothing will ever be the same again. The Resurrection goes beyond its own moment, transforming all relationships and whole societies. The early Christians would chip away at the walls guarding privilege between Jew and Greek, men and women, enslaved and free. The resurrection tells us that we give life to others only by dying; Mark’s narrative says that we can begin again only after a complete and permanent ending. What we call the Gospel, the Good News of the Lord, brings us to the door of a new creation. What we thought was the end is the beginning and what we were sure was complete and total death is only the opportunity to live fully.
We all deserve a history. We have roots and our own experiences of life. Yet, if these are our only tools, we shall eventually become apathetic and bored. Cultural identity or the way we relate and earn a living reveals our true possibilities only as the starting point for dreams and imagination.
In Mark's narrative, discipleship requires a certain understanding of the world we live in. Our world demands change. It has been turned upside down and inside out by sin, death and injustice. According to Mark’s apocalyptic view, the world we know must end and something new begin, not out of power or wealth, the manipulation of the poor, the division of communities and nations, but rather because the God who created our home and our peace is even now at the door (Mk.1:12-13; Lk.4: 1-12). Mark begins his gospel telling us that our time is up, that we must change and that God's Reign is at hand (Mk.1:15). Our world, seemingly normal in its corruption because we have never lived in any other, must be subverted if we follow God’s agenda.
We can ask ourselves what this means on the basis of Mark’s proclamation of the Resurrection. The announcement only provokes questions in the three faithful women who do not understand. They will learn, only through their own confusion and conversation that, by accompanying God's action in history, nothing is impossible for us who share Christ's risen life in the Spirit.
If we have believed until now that the homeless will never have homes or that children cannot be educated or that the elderly must die alone, Mark’s story of the Resurrection tells us that we have been lied to. Our confusion is really a new beginning.
What we are today and what we wish to become cannot live side by side in God's Reign. We are now a people challenged by the change that God has brought upon our world. Until today, death was total and victorious; now, it is only one more factor to be confronted as we come to a complete and shared life which we call God's gift. Sin was the division that ruled the world, making of one people the powerful who conquered and of another the oppressed and enslaved. It is our grace as participants in Mark's history to ask each other what decision we may have made, where we stand and what consequences to Jesus' life, death and Resurrection we are disposed to activate in our own lives.
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