Continuing with the "Easter Challenge: Living as Though Resurrection Was the Final Word for the Next 50 Days” theme:
Yesterday's reading for Easter Wednesday raised a profound question: What can we expect of a resurrected God? How does the power of the resurrection manifest itself in us who make up the Body of Christ on earth?
"When Peter and John were going up to the Temple for the prayers at the ninth hour, it happened that there was a man being carried past. He was a cripple from birth; and they used to put him down every day near the Temple entrance called the Beautiful Gate so that he could beg from the people going in. When this man saw Peter and John on their way into the Temple he begged from them. Both Peter and John looked straight at him and said, ‘Look at us.’
He turned to them expectantly, hoping to get something from them, but Peter said, ‘I have neither silver nor gold, but I will give you what I have: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!’ Peter then took him by the hand and helped him to stand up. Instantly his feet and ankles became firm, he jumped up, stood, and began to walk, and he went with them into the Temple, walking and jumping and praising God. Everyone could see him walking and praising God, and they recognised him as the man who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. They were all astonished and unable to explain what had happened to him."
(Acts 3:1 - 10)
There is a old legend that a 13th century Pope was showing St. Thomas Aquinas around the glories of the Vatican and observed that Peter could no longer say that "I have neither silver or gold". St. Thomas had the ultimate snappy come-back: "Neither can he say "rise and walk".
Of course, throughout Christian history, certain Christians have been been able to say just that. Rome Reports features a fascinating story of a young Mexican boy healed of terminal leukemia, apparently through the embrace of Pope John Paul II.
“He looked like a skeleton, of only five years or so. His skin was hanging off the bone and his cheek was decaying. I was there and I had brought the mother. The pope got off the plane at the airport in Zacatecas. He saw the mother and took the child, which weighed nothing, it was only skin and bones, he kissed the baby and gave it back to the mother. That child was cured after the kiss from the pope.”
This widely known miracle wasn’t used for the beatification process because it happened during the Pope’s lifetime. This healing is simply a demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit working through a very human disciple walking the same earth as you and I.
George Weigel made an thoughtful observation about John Paul's imminent beatification this weekend:
“First, I hope we remember that everything he did was the accomplishment of a radically converted Christian disciple. His resistance to the Nazi occupation of Poland; his abandonment of his youthful plans in order to enter an underground seminary; his dynamic ministry in Cracow as priest and bishop; his philosophical and literary work; his efforts at Vatican II; his epic pontificate and its teaching; his role in the collapse of European communism and in the defense of the universality of human rights—all of this flowed from his radical conversion to Christ.
Why is this important to stress? Because it’s his connection to the rest of us. There are over a billion Catholics on this planet; very few of us will enjoy the range of intellectual, spiritual, literary, athletic, and linguistic gifts that God gave Karol Wojtyla. Because of our baptism, though, all of us share with him the possibility of being radically converted Christian disciples. All of us can be Christ’s evangelical witnesses in our families, our work, our neighborhoods. All of us can live as though the truth John Paul II taught—that Jesus Christ is the answer to the question that is every human life—is at the very epicenter of our own lives.”
More in a bit. Meanwhile, what do you think?