Father Frank’s Easter Message

Easter is a celebration of our Lord’s resurrection from the dead, and it is the ultimate exercise in dealing with paradoxes. The resurrection from the dead is the ultimate paradox! THE TOMB IS EMPTY! A former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church said, “Heresy is the inability to believe paradox.” This was certainly true in the days of the early Church. Most of the early heretics refused to accept the seeming paradox of God, a spirit being, taking on the flesh of a human. In Greek thinking, which influenced many of the heresies, flesh and spirit were incompatible: the two could not co-exist in the same being. But paradox was a natural way of viewing life in the Jewish world in which Jesus lived. Hebrews had a very holistic view of life. God is the God of light and darkness, of day and light. The rain falls on the just and
the unjust. The paradoxes Jesus used in his teaching were not strange-sounding to his Jewish hearers. When Jesus said, “the last shall be first,” or “to live you must die,” the Jews understood these figures of speech. But Jesus’ very life was a paradox. He only loved, but was hated, and he was despised not by evil people, but by the very religious. Jesus was a master of the disciples, yet on the night of his betrayal, he became a servant to those who followed him, and demonstrated servitude by washing his disciples’ feet. And of course, the ultimate paradox is the death and resurrection of our Lord. There is no Easter without Good Friday. We, who have been baptized with Christ, also share in his death and resurrection. Or to use the closing words of the Prayer of Francis, “It is in dying to self, that we are born to eternal life.” And because Christ rose victorious from the grave, our hope is there fixed, that we, too, will share in his resurrection and live with him forever! But paradox confounds those who approach life using logic and reason. Anything outside the realm of the rational, or that which cannot be proven, does not exist. Besides, they argue, how can you base your belief system on concepts that are apparently contradictory? Remember, heresy is the inability to deal with paradox. Jesus said, in order to enter my kingdom, you must become, not wise or wealthy or powerful. In order to enter my kingdom, you must become like children. For childlike faith doesn’t seek absolute truths. Childlike faith willingly accepts and continually marvels at paradox. May God bless you and your loved ones with a joyous Easter. And, I pray that on this Easter, God will bless each of us with the gift of childlike faith.
Faithfully yours,
Fr. Frank