“Why do you look for the living among the dead?
He is not here; he has risen!
Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:
‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners,
be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'”
– Luke 24:5-7
Today, the Day of Our Lord’s Resurrection, reveals the meaning of all that has come before it. On Friday, Fr. Cantalamessa pointed to this, when he explained that in the Death and Resurrection of Christ, the “problem of pain,” the question of why a loving God permits suffering and death, is answered:
One cannot say that “Job’s question has remained unanswered”, or that not even the Christian faith has an answer to give to human pain, if one starts by rejecting the answer it claims to have. What do you do to reassure someone that a particular drink contains no poison? You drink it yourself first, in front of him. This is what God has done for humanity: he has drunk the bitter cup of the passion. So, human suffering cannot be a poisoned chalice, it must be more than negativity, loss, absurdity, if God himself has chosen to savour it. At the bottom of the chalice, there must be a pearl.
We know the name of that pearl: resurrection! “In my estimation, all that we suffer in the present time is nothing in comparison with the glory which is destined to be disclosed for us”. (Rom 8, 18), and again: “He will wipe away all tears from their eyes; there will be no more death, and no more mourning or sadness or pain. The world of the past has gone.” (Ap 21, 4).
If life’s race ended here below, we would have every reason to despair at the thought of the millions, if not billions, of human beings who start off at a great disadvantage, nailed to the starting line by poverty and underdevelopment, without even a chance to run in the race. But that is not how it is. Death not only cancels out differences, but overturns them. “The poor man died and was carried away by the angels into Abraham’s embrace. The rich man also died and was buried …in Hades” (cf. Lk 16, 22-23). We cannot apply this scheme of things to the social sphere in a simplistic way, but it is there to warn us that faith in the resurrection lets no-one go on living their own quiet life. It reminds us that the saying “live and let live” must never turn into “live and let die”.
Let us rejoice and be glad!