Vugt: What happened after the resurrection of the Lord from the dead?

Arnold Van Vugt

ACCORDING to the Gospel of St. John, it says that Jesus before his death did not disapprove of the passionate feelings and actions of Mary Magdalene. Now this familiar gesture to take possession of her loved master is no longer appropriate.

He is now the Risen One, and though he lets himself be seen by his disciples for a few days, he is in the Glory of the Father. His disciples must relinquish the physical presence of Jesus with which they felt so much at ease. From now on the followers and lovers of Jesus will embrace him in a secret and marvelous way, when they are given gifts of prayer and faith. It is then that the contemplative spirit, who is represented by Mary, may enjoy the whole of Christ.

I have not yet ascended to the Father, Jesus is revealing the great desire that filled his life. He came from God and must return to the Father. This is "the greatest love in the world." All the love that Jesus has for us is but a manifestation of that other love, because God the Father is the fountain and the goal of all love.

It is not by chance that the word Lord is again repeated seven times, the last time by Thomas: "You are my Lord and my God." This expresses the faith of the Church.

Let us remark that the persons concerned in this event did in fact call Jesus, "the Master." However, John puts on their lips the word Lord. Why? From the first days of the Church, the believers had to find words to express their faith in Jesus, Son of God, but he was one with him. How to express this divine condition?

In the Bible two names were given to God: God and Yahweh. At that time the Jews no longer pronounced the name of Yahweh and instead said: “the Lord." Moreover, in the Greek bible used by the apostles and the Church, Yahweh was also translated as "the Lord." So the apostles decided very soon to retain the term God when speaking of God the Father, and to call Jesus "the Lord," by this affirming that he was not inferior to the Father.

The risen Jesus’ apparitions to his disciples, besides fostering their hopes and making them qualified witnesses of his resurrection, were necessary for their spiritual formation. The disciples had to learn to recognize Jesus no longer through their senses but through faith.

Likewise, we in the Church have to learn to recognize and follow Jesus in the dim light of faith, in desolation as well as in consolation, thus we too will be among those whom Jesus blesses: Happy are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.

All this happened after the Resurrection of the Lord from the dead.

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