Theologians sometimes try to simply the meaning of the resurrection by packaging its essence into one sentence: In the resurrection, God vindicated Jesus, his life, his message, and his fidelity. What does that mean? asks Ron Rolheiser.
Jesus entered our world preaching faith, love, and forgiveness but the world didn't accept that. Instead it crucified him and, in that crucifixion, seemingly shamed his message. We see this most clearly on the cross when Jesus is taunted, mocked, and challenged:
If you are the son of God, come down from there! If your message is true, let the God verify that right now! If your fidelity is more than plain stubbornness and human ignorance then why are you dying in shame?
And what was God's response to those taunts? Nothing, no commentary, no defense, no apologia, no counter-challenge, just silence. Jesus dies in silence. Neither he nor the God he believed in tried to fill that excruciating void with any consoling words or explanations challenging people to look at the bigger picture or to look at the brighter side of things. None of that. Just silence.
Jesus died in silence, inside God's silence and inside the world's incomprehension. And we can let ourselves be humbly scandalized by that silence, just as we can let ourselves be perpetually scandalized by the seeming triumph of evil, pain, and suffering in our world.
God's silence can forever scandalise us: in the Jewish Holocaust, in ethnic genocides, in brutal and senseless wars, in the earthquakes and tsunamis which kill thousands of people and devastate whole countries, in the deaths of countless people taken out of this life by cancer and by violence, in how unfair life can be sometimes, and in the casual manner that those without conscience can rape whole areas of life seemingly without consequence.
Where is God in all of this? What's God's answer?
God's answer is in the resurrection, in the resurrection of Jesus and in the perennial resurrection of goodness within life itself. But resurrection is not necessarily rescue.
FULL STORY The resurrection as vindicating human fidelity and God's silence (Ron Rolheiser)