Friday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time
“If Christ has not been raised, then empty too is our preaching, empty too is your faith.” This was a line of St. Paul’s that I had my sophomores memorize in Scripture class–one of a small collection they had to be able to identify, chapter and verse. It really does get to the heart of Paul’s preaching about Christianity–at a specific point in recorded time, the Son of God was born of a virgin, grew up in a specific place in the world, was killed on the orders of a real man named Pontius Pilate, and at a specific point after having died, rose from the dead, conquering death itself in the process.
At the end of the day, Christianity is not a set of commandments to keep us in line or platitudes to keep us at peace. It is an affirmation that God has entered into the world in a unique and tangible way, transforming it in the process. There is an inescapable historical element to Christianity–as St. Paul observes, our faith stands or falls on the proposition “this actually happened.” This is part of the reason why, in Ignatian contemplation, great stress is placed upon situating ourselves in the place where the gospel story. Ultimately, in Ignatian contemplation, we are placing ourselves in contact with concrete realities and allowing them to transform us. Let us be mindful of St. Paul’s words today, of the fact that the Resurrection has actually happened, and allow this to transform our lives.