The legacy of Easter
The legacy of Easter
“These are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.” Tradition is the handing on of this first-hand witness of those who saw it from the beginning to all of us who believe. And we are happy and blessed even if we have not seen, yet believe. Our faith is based on witnesses. We cry out with Thomas, “My Lord and my God!”
The gospels in the current form were not originally written as they happened. There was a stage referred to by biblical scholars as the “oral stage”, when all the stories and sources of the gospel events and quotations were all handed down orally without the benefit of written documentation. But because the early Christian communities needed a summary or a compendium of the faith in their preaching, the written form of the gospels evolved. But before the gospels were written, the handing down of the faith is made verbally and more so, by the power of the example of Christian witnesses. Think of this: How would our Christianity be today if the gospels were never written, but relied on the power of the example of practicing Christians?
In today’s gospel, Christ’s act of breathing on his disciples was realizing what he meant by “Receive the Holy Spirit.” The transmission of the legacy of the resurrection we celebrate this Easter season involves the breathing of the spiritual life we live. The values of our Christian life are transmitted through the breathing of the spirit of our life and experiences. They are transmitted through the power of our own life. They are handed down through the invisible principle of our thoughts and actions. In a manner of speaking, they can hardly be taught or preached but are easily caught. In our age, it should not matter what kind of house one lives in or how much money we have in the bank or what clothes we wear. Our world will be better for all of us if we have become an example or a model of the values of Christ’s kingdom for others, particularly the least. In the end, we will be judged according to how we have shared our values and virtues with others through our relationships. The values we share are what constitute the real legacy of our Christian faith.
Our parish community becomes a vessel, as it were, in handing down our faith to our world and to the next generations. Our community becomes like a showcase or an open book which others read to know and understand our Christian faith. We become witnesses of the faith through the Christian values that guide our lives. Like the early believers “who were of one heart and one soul”, as described in the Acts of the Apostles, we as a Christian community have to grow in a unified life with God and with each other.