During each Easter season, we seldom if ever hear of “Populusque Senatus Romanum (PQSR) the official seal of Rome’s mighty emperor. The Gospel of Matthew (27:66) states clearly a seal was placed across the tomb from which Jesus arose. As with all official government documents, the seal was a bold red wax affirmation. Illegally opening an official document or breaking the seal was a direct violation of Rome’s imperial authority. Any subject of the mighty empire who dared to break the seal would be in serious conflict with Roman masters and subject to punishment. The resurrection of Jesus which we commemorate every year was an indication God is not a respecter of any earthly potentate. Raising Jesus from a tomb sealed by Roman authorities was a blatant, dangerous act of disobedience to civil authorities.
Biblical scholar Barnabas Ahearn taught his students during a long career in classrooms: “90 percent of the resurrection occurs in our life time, not after we close our eyes in death.”
How do we rise continually during our brief sojourn on Earth? “Seventy is the sum of our years.” (Psalm 90:10). Buddhists do not believe we can achieve “enlightenment” in such a short period of time. Therefore reincarnation is necessary for Buddhism.
Ahearn is a contemporary of Thomas Berry (1914-2009), the wisest person I ever knew. Ahearn and Berry were scholars and members of the Italian Passionist order, who now participate in the resurrected life with God/ YHWH/Allah/ Jesus.
How do we share daily in our ongoing personal resurrection?
*Is it not a true resurrection as we rise from our beds daily?
*How can we ever be grateful enough for having risen above physical illnesses or limitations to continue our short sojourn on Earth? How many were told to write out their wills yet still remain among the quick? How many savored the joy of “Near Death Experiences” and strive to tell of the unspeakable ecstasy?
*Do we not know of family members and friends who have risen above a life seemingly lost as ducks in the desert then find deeper meaning in daily existence? With Divine assistance, can we not all rise to a new level of higher consciousness and global awareness? We are in the “king-dom” with Earth and all living creatures. There is no “queendom.”
*Daily can we rise above aimless, egotistical behavior to new levels of compassion for all around us?
*As the Spirit clarified to the prophet (Ezechiel 36:26) can we rise to experience an increase in the gift of a “heart of flesh” as the “stony heart is miraculously removed from our midst”?
*Do those who daily participate in pastoral, personal rehabilitation efforts not know of friends who have risen above addictions to chemicals or other compulsive behavior? Those in the 12-step program have countless experiences of ”resurrected individuals.”
*As chaplain in Lafayette Parish Correctional Center (LPCC) from 2000-2008, over 1000 women and men ambled through each month. I was indirectly exposed to over 96,000 residents, hundreds of women and men for long, personal visitations at their request. 150 Katrina refugees taught me how they truly rose from death to life.
Those who worked in LPCC know of many residents who left and “rose” to new levels of life beyond the confining “gated community.” Their experiences are less harrowing than Katrina’s certain death sentence.
Katrina was the worst natural disaster to strike the USA. Unknown to most was another act of disobedience to authority by 150 inmates of a NOLA (9th Ward) jail inundated with water who were herded into a holding area by deputies. Officers not wanting to drown in filthy water then fled for a safer area of the city. From interviews with the New Orleans “resurrected” inmates I learned putrid Katrina water rose to the ankles of entombed inmates. The men foolishly thought guards would certainly return to set them free from their watery grave. No such luck. As the oily water rose to their waist, trapped inmates then locked arms to break open the iron gate/tomb that would have sealed their fate. Doubtless, officers in the New Orleans streets then arrested them again for deportation to Lafayette Parish Correctional Center.
May inmates’ resurrection from certain death in a NOLA prison carry the chosen 150 plus many others to new heights of compassion, kindness and awareness. Resurrection is occurring each moment of our privileged lives. Resurrecting/breaking out of a 9th Ward jail was also a violation of Louisiana law.