THE TRACE OF THE PERFUME: FROM THE TABLE TO THE GARDEN

He is Risen, Alleluia!!

 

Collage Resurección

 

When nature is devastated by fire, small islands of vegetation which have been protected by mother-nature often appear among the ashes.

These spaces become seedbeds which allow forest life to regenerate.

Scientists do not know how exactly this phenomenon occurs, but these ecological shelters are essential to life after destruction.

We do not know how they are formed but we are able to understand this experience at a cultural, social and also spiritual level.  For example: the Benedictine Monasteries were a refuge for culture and spirituality in the middle Ages, during the invasions in Europe.

We do not know how the resurrection happened; the speculative questions do not fit because the biblical stories are not like a newspaper which reports news, nor are they history books, even if they relay historical facts. Their goal is not the news itself, but to inform and to feed the faith of the community.

Thus, like these shelters of vegetation, were the first Christian communities, and we continue to be so. The condition to experience this regeneration or renewed life is to have experienced that He lives, in us, in nature, in our homes, in being solidaire with each other…

We live the resurrection of Jesus, and our own, as a life experience. No one saw Jesus rise from the grave! What they experienced then, and we continue to experience now, is that he is alive.. A life which remains throbbing even when is surrounded by the most devastating of fires.

The theologian Castillo says that the religious institution, in the name of Jesus, is doing the diametrically opposite to what he did: among other things, the treatment of women. He notes that women were the only group with whom Jesus had no conflict. In fact, many biblical scholars tell us that Jesus places women as a model of a discipleship.

They were the first witnesses to the resurrection. (Consult the texts). However, the history of the Christian institution, from the beginning of Christianity written and controlled, until recently only by men, has not appreciated the great responsibility Jesus delegated to women.

But, thanks to the perfume – the trace of which we are able to follow since that woman perfumed the feet of Jesus, upon whom the threat of an unjust execution hung – today we have been able to arrive in the garden, among the bitter aroma of attitudes of the different apostles.

They are for Jesus and the condemned of history, like our ecological gardens in the midst of the ashes: an aromatic garden of seedlings of new life: such as the fragrance of fidelity to friendship which united them to the Master of Nazareth, or the fragrance of gratitude which we see in Mary of Bethany for having been respected.  Her gesture was a source of inspiration for the Master, possibly for his Holy Thursday washing of the feet.

Throughout history, as also in the biblical texts which are proclaimed and celebrated these days before Easter, women, also now as before, are aware that they were and are called to be, with the tools and teachings of the Master, a refuge and a seedbed of life in the midst of the devastation of the institutional forest.

Who are they who go to the orchard-garden, at dawn? They have no idea what will happen to them, yet there they go, faithful and confident, to pay homage to the One who loved them.  At dawn, between two lights, with the shadow of death glued to the soul by the sadness which overwhelms them, and, as always, accustomed to walking in the dark and alone, they go with their perfume to embalm a corpse, a gesture typical of the Jewish mortuary ritual.

John 20,1ff places us upon a path, a process. “The first day of the week”: refers to the beginning of the new creation, the new era in which life has overcome death. It is the day after the sixth, referring to the narrative of Creation. Jesus, the finished man, has completed the first creation. The last day was that of the cross.

 We venture forth, hand in hand, with the women and their perfume. Undaunted  they go into the night of the times, the night of death and, clinging to the perfume, symbol of love for the Beloved (Song of Songs 3,1), they walk through the darkness entering into the light of the dawn, barely perceptible.  In the Gospel according to John, darkness means ‘ideologies contrary to the truth of life’.

Second: the stone, which we believe we cannot move. The problem of who would move the stone away from the grave is solved if we do not allow fear to paralyze us, and, like those women, we also continue walking.

Third: Garden and cemetery at the same time. Depending upon our gaze, it is the place of death or of life. A space of vital encounter, of the One who has conquered death, with the woman who, for and out of love, has overcome the fear of a dying religiosity; is living fully her dignity as daughter of God. In dialogue with the Risen One, she receives from His lips her personal call: “Maria”;  her ‘sending’ to be a seedbed of life for a frightened community, lukewarm, because of the adverse circumstances.

Today the panorama is not any easier.  But let us not forget that the strength of the Risen One is within and among us, like our forest gardens. Discovering them is exciting. And it is a great vaccine for the soul against any virus which might attempt to enthrone itself in our hearts.

Happy Easter!!

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