This past week I remembered at the altar my maternal grandmother on what would have been her one hundred and twenty-eighth birthday.
Her name was Emma, just like the Queen of Hawaii who was still alive at the time of her birth, as were Ulysses S. Grant, Victor Hugo, and Cardinal Newman. It does seem long ago, but things my grandmother taught me are still fresh in my memory.
Only about half that length of time separated the Resurrection of Jesus from the death of the Apostle John, who remembered "that which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched" (1 John 1:1).
Saint Paul also writes of his encounter with the Risen Lord as though it were just yesterday, because the Resurrection was what animated him: "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Galatians 2:20). This explains why he never quotes Jesus in any of his letters, nor does he refer to any of the biographical details of the Lord's life or any of his parables or miracles. All those were prelude to the all-important Resurrection.
Just as our Lord commissioned the Apostles to proclaim his triumph, so we have an urgent summons to do that today, for never has there been so much evil alive in the world, and so much ignorance about the Resurrection. The New York Times outdid its reputation for illiteracy about the Faith by publishing a correction: "An earlier version of this article mischaracterized the Christian holiday of Easter. It is the celebration of Jesus's resurrection from the dead, not his resurrection into heaven." On April 5, 1933, the same newspaper's Moscow correspondent, Walter Duranty, denied the deliberate starvation of millions of Ukrainians by Stalin when he wrote: ". . . the food shortage as a whole is less grave than was believed — or, if not, at least distribution has greatly improved, which comes to the same thing for practical purposes." That was the same number of years ago from us now as the Resurrection was from St. John's death.
The Holy Spirit is more accurate than the editors of The New York Times and has never had to publish a correction of what happened on Easter. Quite the opposite, the Sabbath was changed to Sunday in celebration of the Resurrection, and saints ever since have broadcast what happened. "Christ died for us all so that being alive should no longer mean living with our own life, but with his life, who died for us and has risen again. And therefore, henceforward, we do not think of anybody in a merely human fashion; even if we used to think of Christ in a human fashion, we do so no longer. It follows, in fact, that when a man has become a new creature in Christ, his old life has disappeared; everything has become new about him" (2 Corinthians 5:15-17).
Father George William Rutler. "Accuracy and the Holy Spirit." From the Pastor (April 14, 2013).
Reprinted with permission of Father George W. Rutler.
Father George W. Rutler is the pastor of St. Michael's church in New York City. He has written 18 books, including: Principalities and Powers: Spiritual Combat 1942-1943, Cloud of Witnesses — Dead People I Knew When They Were Alive, Coincidentally: Unserious Reflections on Trivial Connections, A Crisis of Saints: Essays on People and Principles, Brightest and Best, Saint John Vianney: The Cure D'Ars Today, Crisis in Culture, and Adam Danced: The Cross and the Seven Deadly Sins.Copyright © 2013 Father George W. Rutler
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