This Risen Existence

I have been reading and appreciating two books by Paula Gooder over Triduum and Easter.

  • Journey to the Empty Tomb: Exploring the Final Week of Jesus’ Life
  • This Risen Existence: The Spirit of Easter

A starting point for the second book is that we seem to make a special effort for Lent but Easter comes as an afterthought. She therefore takes short sections first from the four gospels, then Paul. The sections are part of longer passages (such as the Road to Emmaus) but it allows her to reflect on a particular aspect of the story. One of the things I appreciate, and it may seem faint praise, but the books do not offer grand theories or ground-breaking ways of looking at the texts. Rather she draws on a deep scriptural knowledge, an eye for detail, an ability to offer ways in from experience and reflections on the meaning of discipleship – all written in engaging short sections. The books are designed to be used in different ways: as a personal read, as a daily reading and reflection or with a weekly group.

One of insights offered in both books but explored more fully in Journey to the Empty Tomb is that the initial resurrection stories rely on the senses as the way to recognise the risen Lord. Mary through hearing Jesus’ voice, John seeing the tomb, Thomas touching the wounds, even at Emmaus the disciples ‘Taste and see’.

In This Risen Existence writing about Mary in John 20:16 she draws a wider parallel:

Part of the Christian journey of faith is this re-training of senses so that we can see truly and hear fully, not only God in our midst but also in the world around us.

I immediately thought what a wonderful description of the catechumenate a re-training of the senses so that we have eyes to see, ears to hear etc. that God is at work. The challenge of the Easter Season (which does not end) and Mystagogy (which does not end) is to see the world anew.