Passing it on
The Risen Christ has specific things for us to do if we are to be among his followers
By Tony Staley
After Jesus' resurrection from the dead on Easter, a curious thing happens: He no longer performs miracles.
Of course, it could be argued that appearing in the middle of a group in a locked room is a miracle. Or that it's a miracle that someone capable of this has a body that can both be touched and eat solid food. And it may be a miracle when, after a fruitless night of fishing, the disciples catch a net full of 153 large fish after Jesus says to try the starboard side (Jn 21:1-14).
But there are no accounts of the risen Lord curing the blind, deaf or lame, raising the dead, or casting out demons.
Instead, the Master Teacher - who has gone through the entire life cycle, from birth to death and now is risen - confers on his followers the abilities to do those things (Mk 16:17-18).
After devoting his life - through word and action - to teaching his followers how to live, he tells his disciples (including us) to do likewise. He even adds this assurance: "Know that I am with you always, until the end of the world" (Mt 28:20).
When they did as Jesus told them, "The Lord continued to work with them throughout and confirm the message through the signs which accompanied them" (Mk 16:20).
But perhaps the Risen Lord did perform a miracle of sorts in what he did and didn't do.
First, he didn't seek revenge on those immediately responsible for his suffering and death. Jesus was no Bruce Banner transformed into an Incredible Hulk mindlessly doling out punishment. Nor is he a Terminator hunting down his opponents. Or a Smith & Wesson-bearing Charles Bronson or Clint Eastwood. Our Risen Lord is no avenging angel or mythical Golem set on settling scores.
Rather, in eternal life, he practices what he preached in earthly life: Turn the other check, forgive 70 times 7 times.
Indeed, what Jesus does do is forgive Peter - who had hoped it would be adequate to forgive someone 7 times - for denying him.
And not only does Jesus forgive Peter, he tells the disciples "In my name, preach penance for the remission of sins to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem"(Lk 24:47).
As his followers, we too must forgive sins - though not in the same way priests are empowered to act through Holy Orders. Nevertheless, our role in forgiving others for the wrongs they do against us is necessary, both to repair the rift between us and for us to be truly forgiven by the Father (Mt 6:14-15). When we do that, we experience the peace the Risen Christ offers.
Happy Easter. Peace be with you.