Mine and our strength
Publish date 03-09-2023
Listening to the Gospel of the Easter night I was struck by the sequence of events that Matthew lists: while the women are at the tomb, a great earthquake shakes the earth, an angel come down from heaven rolls the stone under their eyes he closed the tomb and sat on it; because of his appearance like lightning and his clothes white as snow, the guards are stunned with fright, but the angel addresses the women: «Do not be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus, the crucifix. He's not here. Indeed, he has risen as he had said; come, see the place where he was laid" (Mt 28:5-6).
This Easter morning story also shakes our senses: the shaking of the earth, the dazzling light of the angel make us feel the power of God's every action. No one witnessed the resurrection of Jesus, but God must have released at that moment all the power of his creative love, all the will to give life to Jesus forever and with him to all humanity, to all creation. A new life, a life forever.
The angel of fire and light opens the stone of the tomb where Jesus had been laid after his death on the cross, bringing with him to that tomb the apparent human failure of his preaching, the betrayal of his friends, the failure of his project of fraternity… Everything had been buried with him and the stone had been rolled away to forever close any hope of salvation.
But when the angel moves the stone, the tomb is empty. Jesus is no longer there, he is risen. And with him the hope of living here on earth the anticipation of the Kingdom of Heaven has resurrected, with him fraternity has resurrected. It all began from the tomb, because with the death of Jesus the old man who exists in each of us died, and with the resurrection of Jesus the hope that we can live as brothers and sisters and form fraternity has risen. The hope that our head, our heart, our will are renewed, changed, different.
This is our hope.
We who have lived the experience of the Fraternity of Hope for many years know well the difficulty of our personal and community changes. It's not all easy, it's not all immediate, because Jesu s' resurrection gives us the certainty that it's possible, but it doesn't take away the effort of getting there. We live by believing in the word that the angel spoke to the women and that is also repeated to each of us: "Do not be afraid! He has risen." Our hope comes from believing this Word. Since the Fraternity of Hope has existed, at the Arsenale della Pace and in the other Arsenals we have experienced daily deaths and resurrections, constant, continuous deaths and resurrections. So many failures, so many mistakes, so many sins, so much effort, but every day everything is reborn with Jesus from the empty tomb. Let us ask the risen Jesus for the grace to believe that with him we can revive the beauty of a new humanity. A humanity that chooses on the trust of Jesus not to judge, not to divide, not to be vindictive, that truly chooses goodness, fraternity, sharing in the depths.
Jesus' resurrection today is truly my strength, it is the strength of my hope.
I believe in the power of the resurrection when I see the fraternity struggling to walk together. I believe in the resurrection when I know that we have to make decisions and humanly we are not sure that we are making the right choices.
In this complicated time I often pray like this: Lord, in this humanly difficult situation we see no solution. But you who are the risen, living Christ, send once again into my life, into our life, the angel to open wide the tomb, to move something impossible for us, to show us that the old man is no longer there. because you have transformed it with you.
Let's ask it, always believe it.
NP May 2023