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NOTIONS AND RUMINATIONS Resurrection of Christ is the seed that ultimately enables us to see and taste and hear and touch our faith

 

by Deacon Mark Plaiss

 

      I love avocados. I smash one up and put it on my green salads. Really pops the taste.

      The seed of the avocado is quite large; the size of a small ball. That large seed is the core of the fruit. The seed is what makes an avocado an avocado.

      This month we celebrate to the core of our faith: the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ. Just as there is no avocado without the seed, so there is no Christian religion without the resurrection of Jesus.

      St. Paul is quite emphatic about this: “If Christ has not been raised, then empty is our preaching; empty, too, your faith.” (1 Cor 15:14)

      You and I are a resurrection people. You and I gather once a week to celebrate that resurrection, and we do so not just on any day of the week. We do so on Sunday, the day our Lord rose from the dead.

      Now, in order for me to get to the seed of the avocado, I must pierce the fruit. With a knife. Same goes for our religion. Jesus was pierced, crucified, in order that the core of his life, his resurrection, could take place.

      Once I’ve pierced the avocado I scoop out the fruit and place it on my salad. I place it on my salad, because the avocado both tastes good and adds color to the salad.

      Isn’t that just like our religion? The resurrection is sweet, because it gives us life. In other words, when we do die, we don’t stay dead. That’s the Gospel; that’s the good news. The resurrection also colors our lives. It gives life meaning. This absurd world is not the end. Sin does not hold sway. Truth is real and absolute. O death, where is thy sting?!

      One of the beauties of our religion is the wide variety of teachings of Jesus. His parables, his beatitudes, his wit, charm, tenderness, mercy and love are all attested to in the Bible. His Church lifts our hearts with music; tickles our noses with sweet incense; delights our tongue with Christ’s body and blood; touches us with signs of peace; enchants us with the sight of the Pieta, the flying buttress, the candles on the altar.

      But all of that is meaningless without the resurrection. It is the resurrection of Jesus that makes good all those parables and beatitudes. It is the resurrection of Christ that enables us to see and taste and hear and touch our faith. 

      St. Paul knew that; he knew it well. That’s why he writes so much in his letters about the resurrection. He knew that was the deal maker.

      If I were to take the seed of the avocado and rap it against a hard object, say a table top, a loud rap would ensue. The seed is not only large, but solid.

      So is the resurrection of Jesus. The tomb was empty. Mary Magdalene saw Jesus after he had been condemned to death by Pontus Pilate; the Magdalene even embraced him. Peter and the boys saw him, too. Ate some fish with him as well.

      That’s why the parables and the beatitudes have meaning. The resurrection is the exclamation point at the end of Jesus’ life here on earth, and that resurrection is solid; as solid as rapping the seed of an avocado on a table top.

      So during this month when we commence the Easter season, there are many things about our faith about which we could ponder, pray or puzzle over. How about this month, and for the remainder of the Easter season, which stretches out all the way to June 9, we focus on that seed?   

 

      Deacon Mark Plaiss teaches in the Department of Religious Studies at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, Ill. Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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