Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
“See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted.” Thus, begins the fragment from the book of the prophet Isaiah proclaimed on Good Friday, during the celebration of the Passion of the Lord. The prophet then went on to describe this servant, the situation he found himself in. The description presented does not seem to be that of a prosperous man, much less somebody successful. “A man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, one of those from whom people hide their faces.” However, the prophet adds: “If he gives his life as an offering for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life, and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him.”
This Holy Week reaching its climax in the luminous celebration of Easter Sunday, we celebrate with special intensity the prosperity and success of Him who was disfigured, who being God embraced our human nature and, out of love for us, submitted even to the power of death to ransom us from the power of sin and death. Glorified by his rising from the dead, he has now become a mediator of all the graces that the Lord in his infinite mercy bestows upon us in a lavish overflow of life, goodness, and beauty.
The resurrection of Christ is much more than the resuscitation of a corpse. It is the consummation of the creative work of God, who brings the universe in its entirety and each and every one of our lives to the fullness of communion in Him. Indeed, this servant who was crucified emerges victorious from the tomb. His triumph is overwhelming, radical, definitive, total. There is nothing in the universe that has not been transformed by this event of cosmic proportions, which brings meaning even to suffering and death.
The success and prosperity of this Servant announced by the prophet, are not measured with worldly criteria. His victory is not won by armies and swords. In fact, these had been turned against the Lord and his Messiah. They were used as instruments of the world’s rejection of God who stoops down to humanity, becoming one with us.
In his victory, Jesus Christ does not make an ostentatious display of power or wealth either. Even in his moment of glory, having overcome the limits of time and space, he does not appear to the powers that be to claim what is rightfully his, the entire universe. He appears to his disciples, to those who heard his message and followed him, leaving everything else behind. He shows himself to those who love him. His appearance is mistaken for that of a gardener. His glorious body maintains the marks of the derision and shame so that those who doubt, will recognize him. The eyes of the heart will recognize him when they hear his loving and consoling word. The one who doubts, will meet him and by the contemplation of his wounds will come to worship him as true God. It is the crucified who emerges from death beautiful and strong. God has triumphed, yet he does not impose himself but rather, he invites to follow.
His radiant light dispels darkness, yet it can still be rejected because it does not obliterate the freedom of man created in the image and likeness of God. Although we walk in the shadow of sin and death, the baptized clearly see the light of the morning star that never sets, Jesus Christ risen from the death who impels us to keep on walking with hearts inflamed by love and hope.
The need for an encounter with Christ that is indispensable to reach the fullness of life and love has become even more evident in our times. The irruption of an organism as primitive as the coronavirus has exposed our weakness, our fragility, our misery, and our abject poverty. This hiper-tecnified civilization that we live in, so prodigal in technical resources is unable to redeem humanity.
True prosperity and the success of a person are not measured by their net worth or their bank account, these could disappear at the blink of an eye. Furthermore, they are completely unable to deliver from the power of sin and death.
The crucified one, a man of infirmity, who in his passion did not even look like a human being, is the one who holds the key to true prosperity. He enriches us with life that never ends and with the goods that no moth can destroy, the eternal goods of divine grace, the love of God inviting us to communion with him.
Our fidelity to the message of Christ, the imitation of his selfless example in his loving outpouring for his kin and obedience to God, are the only way to true glory, authentic prosperity, real success. Even though we may have to suffer a bit, as our Eternal High Priest did, if we persevere in his company, especially in the hour of the cross, suffering, pain, and derision out of love for him, we will rise with him. In fact, we would already be in glory with him, we would have reached existential success, true life.
Christ is risen! Behold our hope! Behold the reason for our joy! It is a serene, sober, deep, constant, unmovable joy. What the prophet announces has been fulfilled. By his wounds we have been healed. The Servant is raised high and greatly exalted. He raises and exalts our common human nature, the same fragile and vulnerable nature that we share with him and with every other human being that is, ever was, or will be.
Fr. Roberto M. Cid