Rev. Barnabas Ahearn (1916-1995), was a prominent biblical scholar emerging from the École Biblique in Jerusalem who later served as an adviser to Bishops at the second Vatican council (1962 – 1965).
The first day of April 2018 millions of Christians celebrated Easter, a moveable feast yearly observed the first Sunday after the first full moon in spring. This date is also “Passover” in the Hebrew calendar when Jews remember their liberation from bondage.
“We are (Jews, Christians, Muslims) offspring of Abraham.” (Paul to Galatians 3:29)
“Resurgere” is the Latin root word meaning “to rise again.” After the crucifixion, death and burial of Jesus, civil authorities placed a wax Roman seal on the tomb. Roman seals were commonly bearing red wax on documents with the words: “Senatus Populusque Romanus” or the abbreviation “PQSR”. Anyone other than the designated recipient who broke that seal was considered to be violating Roman law.
Paintings of Roman soldiers guarding the tomb of Jesus and the red wax seal are not as popular as those of a resurrected Jesus in biblical images. The resurrection of Jesus and breaking of the “PQSR” seal was actually an act of civil disobedience against Rome.
Barnabas Ahearn taught his numerous students: “90 percent of the resurrection occurs in this life, not after our death!” It was my privilege to help the ageing biblical scholar board a bus when we met at a conference in Washington, D.C. Once on board, I was not able to learn more thoroughly from Fr. Ahearn about his radical theory on our “living resurrection.” I firmly believe his analysis of daily resurrection.
While Fr. Ahearn was advising members of the Vatican council in Rome, I was studying scripture, theology and reading Russian novels for intellectual diversion. Two articulate cerebral characters in Boris Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago were discussing the meaning in life. I cannot possibly recall their names, so must improvise for effect.
Fictional character “Boris” was discussing the meaning of life with “Alexander” in that novel I read with delight in the 1960’s.
Alexander: “Without a liberated personality and the idea of life as sacrifice, we are unthinkable!” We exist in continual need of liberation from our addictions to egoism, selfishness, excessive patriotism, greed, chemical addictions or whatever imprisons us.”
Boris: “How true your analysis is. We are not that far removed from the Roman Caligula’s who still haunt us in history.”
Throughout our years we receive a mellow human heart as hearts of stone are removed (Ezekiel 36:26). Our resurrection is here, now, forever.