Day 33: Freedom of Christ Raised
Editor’s Note: TOB is the abbreviation for Pope St. John Paul II’s book “Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body” Pauline Press First freezing morning: harder to see and feel Risen Jesus in dismal cold. Fire on, fire up! If the faithful can’t re-ignite from our incendiary Source, what good are we to a numb world? He lives to inflame our damp witness and sharpen dull spirits, especially in the darkness.
Resurrection lights up the night. It changes everything. Not only did Jesus descend into the hell of our disintegration, He broke its power to define us. Raised from the dead and clutching us as He catapults into new life, we too emerge into the light of a new day, in Alistair McGrath’s language, ‘the first day of a new creation.’
What does the ‘new creation’ mean for those in pursuit of integration? Let’s look at what it does not mean. Being raised with Christ this side of heaven doesn’t mean no more becoming. It means that every disjointed, overwrought, misaligned, and unplugged part of us is now bathed in glory. Resurrection invites us to look at our haggard face or performance in the light of Jesus beaming at His favorite one. Love invites us to laugh at our stubborn weakness, to rebuke discouragement and proceed onto wholeness. Hope does not disappoint!
TOB has much to say about hope. Pope St. John Paul II emphasizes hope’s reign now, not just in heavenly communion with Jesus. He emphasizes ‘the hope of the everyday’ (86:6)—how the Risen Christ pours out real redemptive power through the Holy Spirit to redeem the body, including soul and spirit. (JP II is more Hebraic than Greek in refusing rigid distinctions here.)
I marvel at the stream of new life running through every biblical passage he parses in TOB: the power of indissoluble marriage (Matt. 19) amid each person’s tendency to profound adultery of heart (Matt. 5:27, 28), and the witness of both well-ordered celibates (Matt. 22) and marrieds (Eph. 5) to reveal to everyone the hope of ultimate consummation with Jesus. JP II endows these passages with redemptive power—the Spirit of Resurrection—who liberates pilgrims seeking integration (and heaven) to realize on earth ‘the hope of victory over sin’ (86:6).
Risen Jesus clarifies for us Eden’s blueprint—His design for our sexual humanity--and a path for our redemption. Resurrection insists we take responsibility for securing trustworthy ones who accompany us on the Way: this and not that—walk we must. Walk we can. Along the way, His burning Light may well reveal new fractures He wants to restore. Fret not! Raised with Him, we can see it, say it, and proceed to integrate through this adventure of a lifetime.
‘Jesus, rouse the gift we are. Help us to attend to the treasure you summon from the trash. Free us from our constant faultfinding and free us for vestiges of paradise in our memories and in our lives today. We refuse the liar who tries to rewrite Eden out of our histories. Unite us to the home of our original dignity.’
‘Jesus, have mercy on us as Your Church. We have abused weaker members, including children, and protected ourselves. We have violated the most vulnerable. In Your mercy, free us to superabound with justice. Grant us Kingdom discernment and courage to reform ourselves. May our repentance grant us Kingdom authority to strengthen the weak, discipline violators, and restore the violated.’