Father Peter Clarke

From the Diocese of Bridgetown

I Am The Resurrection: A Reflection By Fr. Peter Clarke, O.P.

I Am The Resurrection: A Reflection By Fr. Peter Clarke, O.P.


Martha was heart-broken that her brother, Lazarus, had died; relieved that Jesus had turned up to share her tears; disappointed in Jesus, she complained, "Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died." But she had a well-founded faith in Him, "Even now I know that God will grant whatsoever you ask Him." It was common knowledge that Jesus had the power to heal the sick and even to raise the dead to life.

Martha was scarcely comforted when Jesus reassured her that her brother would rise again. "I know he will rise again - at the resurrection on the Last Day." This dissatisfaction of Martha gave Jesus the opening to raise the level of the conversation. "I am the resurrection. Anyone who believes in me, even though that person dies, will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die."Hearing this Martha must have been baffled. But this in no way lessened her trust in Jesus, who asked her, "Do you believe this? 'Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, and the one who was to come into this world."

Martha and her sister had the great privilege of seeing their deceased brother Lazarus being raised to life. They would have known that this was bound to be no more than a bonus of yet a few more years of life inevitably to be followed by death, mourning yet again. They could not know that Jesus, through His own death on a cross, would conquer the destructive, disintegrating and corrupting impact death has on our fragile, mortal humanity. Only in the light of meeting the risen Lord were His followers able to believe that through His death and resurrection Jesus had won for Himself a divinely glorious existence in the fullness of His humanity, body and soul.

Our crucified and risen Lord would achieve this for the whole of humanity to which He was bonded through His being truly God and truly man. Together with Jesus we are one Body – with His being the Head. Our God-given destiny is fused into His.

St. Paul wrote, "When we were baptized into Christ Jesus, we were baptized into his death… If we have been joined to him by dying a death like His, so we shall be by a resurrection like His,"(Rom. 6.3). We are able to make our own the excitement St. Paul imparted to the Corinthians, "Death is swallowed up in victory. Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting? … Thank God, then, for giving us the victory?" (1Cor.15.55).

And St. Paul wrote this to the Thessalonians, "We want you to be quite certain, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, to make sure that you do not grieve for them, as others do who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and that in the same way God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus,"(I Thess.4.13).

Even before He died Jesus made it known to Martha that He was the Resurrection! As we Christians are intent on celebrating liturgically the dying and rising that occurred nearly two thousand years ago Jesus now asks us what He asked Martha, "Do you believe this?" Now some soul-searching for ourselves, 'To what extent is this belief influencing the way we live and our expectations for our eternal future?'

Have a blessed, hope-filled Easter!

Peter Clarke, O.P.

Statement from the R.C Diocese of Bridgetown
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