STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Fifteen — Jesus Rises From The Dead, by Henri Nouwen

stations of the cross 15 nouwen

From Walk With Jesus

The Indian people of South America radiate deep inner joy and peace.  The straw crosses they have woven symbolize their hardships and struggles.  The long palm leaves that they flourish manifest their sense of victory and triumph.  Yes, there is sadness, but gladness too.  Yes, there is grief, but joy as well.  Yes, there is fear, but also love.  Yes, there is hard work, but celebration follows.  And, yes, there is death, but also resurrection.

The smiles breaking through the weathered faces of the women and men walking in procession speak of a deep faith in the resurrection.  It is a faith that not only trusts that life is stronger than death, but also offers a foretaste of the joy that will last forever.  The eyes of the poor can suddenly become luminous with hope and open up horizons far beyond the limited vision of a self-preoccupied humanity.  The poor of the world carry in their hearts a resurrection faith, a faith that knows that all that is created is created not to be wasted, but to be transformed into a new Heaven and a new Earth.  The beautiful smiles on the faces of the poor of Bolivia, Peru, Nepal, Pakistan, Burundi, the Sudan, and all over the planet, offer glimpses of the reality of the resurrection.  These smiles come from the depths of hearts that know of a love that is real and everlasting.

On the morning of the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome found the tomb empty and heard a young man in a white robe say: “He is not here.”  Two of the disciples, Peter and John, entered the tomb and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground and also the cloth that had been over Jesus’s head.  Mary of Magdala heard him call her by name, and Cleopas and his friend recognized him at Emmaus in the breaking of the bread.  In the evening of that same day, he came and stood among his disciples, saying, “Peace be with you,” and showed them his hands and his side.

As these things took place, new words broke out of the silence of Holy Saturday and touched the hearts and the minds of the men and women who had known and loved Jesus.  These words were: “He has risen, risen indeed.”  They were not shouted from the rooftops or carried around the city on big placards.  They were whispered from ear to ear as an intimate message that could be truly heard and understood only by a heart that had been yearning for the coming of the kingdom and had recognized its first signs in the words and deeds of the man from Nazareth.

All is different and all is the same for those who say, “Yes,” to the news that is whispered through the ages from one end of the world to the other.  Trees are still trees, rivers are still rivers, mountains are still mountains, and people in their hearts are still able to choose between love and fear.  But all that has been lifted up in the risen body of Jesus and placed at the right hand of God.  The prodigal child is placed in the loving embrace of the Father; the little child is put in its mother’s arms; the true heir has been given the best robe and a precious ring, and brothers and sisters invited to the same table.  All is the same, and all is made new.  As we light our lives with a resurrection faith, our burdens become light burdens and our yokes easy yokes because we have found rest in the gentle and humble heart of Jesus that belongs for all eternity to God.

It is now time to speak again, quietly but confidently.  New words emerge from the silence.  Good news is brought to the poor, liberty to the captives, sight to the blind, freedom to the oppressed, and the favor of the Lord is proclaimed.

And so the smile of God and the smile of God’s people reach each other and become one in the undying light that shines in the darkness.

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