5th April

The following Easter reflection of Fr Ronald Rolheiser is entitled the Triumph of Goodness. For a shorter read, I have bolded the initial part which sums up his overall message. If you have time, read on for the whole article.

The stone which rolled away from the tomb of Jesus continues to roll away from every sort Jesus resurrectionof grave. Goodness cannot be held, captured, or put to death. It evades its pursuers, escapes capture, slips away, hides out, even leaves the churches sometimes, but forever rises, again and again, all over the world. Such is the meaning of the resurrection.

Goodness cannot be captured or killed. We see this already in the earthly life of Jesus. There are a number of passages in the Gospels which give the impression that Jesus was somehow highly elusive and difficult to capture. These stories of his “slipping away” are highly symbolic. The lesson is not that  Jesus was physically deft and elusive, but rather that the word of God, the grace of God, the goodness of God, and power of God can never be captured, held captive, or ultimately killed. They are adept. They can never be held captive, can never be killed, and even when seemingly they are killed, the stone that entombs them always eventually rolls back and releases them. Goodness continues to resurrect from every sort of grave.

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And it is this, the constant resurrection of goodness, not that of viciousness and evil, which speaks the deepest truth about our world and our lives. The Jewish-Hungarian writer, Imre Kertesz, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2002, gives a poignant testimony of this. He had as a young boy been in a Nazi death camp, but what he remembered most afterwards from this experience was not the injustice, cruelty, and death that he saw there, but rather some acts of goodness, kindness, and altruism he witnessed amidst that evil. After the war, it left him wanting to read the lives of saints rather than biographies of war. The appearance of goodness fascinated him. To his mind, evil is explicable, but goodness? Who can explain it? What is its source? Why does it spring up over and over again all over the earth, and in every kind of situation?

It springs up everywhere because God’s goodness and power lie at the source of all being and life. This is what is revealed in the resurrection of Jesus. What the resurrection reveals is that the ultimate source of all that is, of all being and life, is gracious, good, and loving. Moreover it also reveals that graciousness, goodness, and love are the ultimate power inside reality. They will have the final word and they will never be captured, derailed, killed, or ultimately ignored. They will break through, ceaselessly, forever. In the end, too, as Imre Kertesz suggests, they are more fascinating than evil.

And so we are in safe hands. No matter how bad the news on a given day, no matter how threatened our lives are on a given day, no matter how intimidating the neighborhood or global bully, not matter how unjust and cruel a situation, and no matter how omnipotent are anger and hatred, love and goodness will reappear and ultimately triumph.

Jesus taught that the source of all life and being is benign and loving. He promised too that our end will be benign and loving. In the resurrection of Jesus, God showed that God has the power to deliver on that promise. Goodness and love will triumph!

They couldn’t arrest Jesus, until he himself allowed it. They put his dead body in a tomb and sealed it with a stone, but the stone rolled away. His disciples abandoned him in his trials, but they eventually returned more committed than ever. They persecuted and killed his first disciples, but that only served to spread his message. The churches have been unfaithful sometimes, but God just slipped away from those particular temple precincts. God has been declared dead countless time, but yet a billion people just celebrated Easter.

Goodness cannot be killed. Believe it!