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Monday, October 1, 2012

The Resurrection of Jesus

Witness: Anya, a Jewish peasant woman of the tome of Jesus

Post N. 20 (see previous posts)



The time for mourning has elapsed fast. Anya is back home in Galilee, living with her husband, their son and his new family. She rejoices at the sight of the new born baby, her nephew. Holding him in her arms, she recalls to her mind the first days, the first moments after the tragedy.

Night had fallen. Every blow of wind had died away and a peaceful gloom had set upon the land. 
Even the trees seemed to have taken up a mournful attitude, their branches drooping sadly in mortal sorrow. It was the first night after Jesus’ execution, and the rays of a dusky-red moon cut through the thick mist that enveloped every thing. 
Anya, Mary Magdalene and the other women were praying together. They kept praying tirelessly until the last hour of the Sabbath, then they walked to Jesus’ tomb carrying spices to anoint his body. They found the tomb empty and the stone that secured its entrance removed. It was dawn and the sun was rising out of darkness.
From that moment on, Jesus’ presence has shined on the earth and has pervaded the world. It is elusive and mysterious, but absolutely real. It is comforting, empowering, overwhelming. It is more than anyone could have ever believed, and yet it happened: Jesus was raised from the dead. 
Mary Magdalene was the first one to see the risen Jesus.                                                      
She was outside the tomb, crying bitterly over the disappearance of his body. She didn’t recognize him at first, but then she fell on her knees and kissed his feet. He told her to go and bring testimony to the apostles, but they did not believe her. Two disciples came and told them that they had met Jesus on the road to Emmaus.  To their eyes he looked different, but they recognized him when he broke the bread at their table. Then he appeared to the Eleven and showed them the signs of the torture he had endured. He was Jesus in flesh and bones, yet he walked through closed doors, suddenly materializing in their midst.
Later, when the apostles had returned to Galilee, he filled their nets with fish and ate with them. Many disciples saw Jesus, but Anya never did. She longs for him. Come to me, just for once, she prays every night. 
One day she wanders by the river. The glassy water reflects the emerald green foliage along the bank. Sweet-scented flowers blush beneath the sunlight. In the distance a tall, slender figure is walking towards the mouth of the stream. His pace is light, his demeanor quiet and majestic. He turns around to wait for her. Coming closer to him Anya recognizes the raven-black hair and the pale forehead that she has known and loved for so long. But there is a radiance about him, a halo of divine strangeness that she has never seen before. The aquiline outline of his nose, the curved nostrils are the same, but the expression of his eyes has the steadiness of a star, the fluidity of running water, the depth of a ravine. It’s the gaze of a man who has lived for thousands of years. And yet, the most common, sweet words come out of his mouth:
“Do you love me, Anya?”
“You know I love you, Lord.”
But a moment later Anya realizes that Jesus’ question carries a deeper meaning, that is, do you love me enough? Enough to leave everything behind once again? To sacrifice your life for me?             
Looking into his eyes, Anya is not afraid to admit in her heart: I just can’t. I’m not a strong person. I want to be with my family. In order to believe in you they need their share of happiness and they can’t have it without me. I’ll be your messenger to them. Others, many others will sacrifice their life for you. But not me.
Jesus smiles lovingly, forgivingly.

“I give you my peace,” he says before vanishing. “I’ll be with you always, till the end of time.”


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