Sunday, April 8, 2012
Easter - Lies and Realities
As we celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord let us remember that this particular event gave rise to many speculations and rumours all those years ago, and indeed over the years since then.
Let’s consider the facts as we know them.
A man claiming to be the Son of God was crucified and died a most horrible death.
After His death, His followers claimed that He rose from the dead as He had said He would.
Now let’s look at the rumours and the conspiracy theories.
It is possible that Christ’s disciples and followers stole and hid the body of Jesus to perpetuate the story that He is the Son of God and that His Father raised Him from the dead.
But if that were the case; what benefit is there to them to disseminate this story knowing full well that it is a lie? Why suffer persecution, imprisonment, torture and death for something you know to be false? Would you do that?
The other theory is that the Jews, the Sadducees or Pharisees, removed the body in order to stop any beliefs that Christ is the Messiah, the Son of God.
But if that were the case; then why not produce the body once the disciples said that Jesus rose from the dead and invalidate the story of the Resurrection right from the start? Isn't that what one would expect in such circumstances?
Another hypothesis is that Christ never died at all. He just lost consciousness or was in a coma, and He woke up once again and walked out of the tomb.
But the Romans were very thorough people. They made sure that those crucified were indeed dead by breaking their legs whilst hanging there. They did not do so to Jesus because when they checked He was already dead. Even so, they did pierce His side with a spear just to make sure.
And then; there is of course the fact:
Christ died on the Cross and rose from the dead.
Father Ignatius was a studious type of person spending many hours reading the Bible as well as many books on theology, ancient history and similar subjects which would soon send any lesser head spinning widely.
One evening he retired to the room he called “my meditation corner” and after reciting the Rosary he started reading the Bible and cross-referencing certain passages with other books to better understand what God is teaching through His Word.
One passage in particular caught his interest. After Christ’s death and burial, we are told that Mary Magdalene visited the tomb and found the stone rolled away from the entrance. She ran to Simon Peter and the other disciple and told them what she had seen. Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb. When Simon Peter got in and went inside he noticed the linen wrappings lying there, but the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded and lying to the side.
There it was, in the Gospel of John Chapter 20 Verse 7.
Father Ignatius puzzled about this for a moment or two. He’d read that chapter many times and nothing specific occurred to him. But this time, as if a small voice buzzing in his head, he kept wondering the significance of what he had read.
“Why are we told that the cloth which covered Jesus’ head was folded and lying to the side? What’s so important about that?” Father Ignatius asked himself.
Yet somehow, John thought it important enough to mention it. Why?
Father Ignatius checked the other three Gospels but they did not mention this fact. “But why did John consider it so significant to point it out” he wondered silently.
After hours of searching other books and checking on ancient traditions he came upon something he’d never known before.
In ancient Hebrew tradition the folded napkin was symbolic between the master of the house and his servant.
When the servant set the dinner table he made sure that everything was perfectly set out as the master wished and then he would wait out of sight until the master finished eating.
The servant would not clear the table until the master had finished.
When the master finished his meal he would wipe his fingers and mouth with the napkin and then toss the napkin on the table.
The servant would then clear the table, because in those days a tossed napkin meant “I’ve finished.”
However … and this is the significant bit which Father Ignatius discovered for himself, if the master left the table but neatly folded the napkin and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not touch the table.
Because the folded napkin meant “I’m coming back!”
“He’s coming back …” mumbled Father Ignatius in wonderment.
That’s what John was trying to tell us in his Gospel.
More stories about Father Ignatius HERE.