The Empty Tomb: Christ Has Risen!

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The Empty Tomb: Christ Has Risen!

There is a legal doctrine, “res ipsa loquitur,” a Latin phrase which literally means, “the thing speaks for itself.” It is used in torts and damages cases, especially in common carriers or motor vehicle accidents, where the negligence of the defendant is inferred from the nature of the accident suffered by the plaintiff. The latter has only to prove that the defendant has the duty towards the plaintiff to act reasonably and with the required quantum of diligence and there is a breach of this duty on the part of the defendant. The damage and the cause thereof are presumed from the state of “things which speak for themselves.”

The empty tomb of Christ is like a piece of evidence to make a case for His resurrection. The Jewish authorities at the time of Jesus were suspicious that the disciples of Christ would steal the dead body of Jesus from the tomb and proclaim later that their Lord and Teacher had risen. To assuage themselves and to quell any attempt that the disciples might do, the Jewish authorities asked Pilate to have the tomb guarded. “So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.” (Mt. 27:66) The guards kept watch until dawn, until there was a great earthquake for an angel of the Lord, whose appearance was like lightning and whose clothing was white as snow, descended from heaven, rolled back the stone and sat upon it. The guards who saw this were shaken with fear and became like dead men. The angel said to Mary Magdalene and to another Mary who was with her, “Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for He has been raised just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay . Then go quickly and tell His disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him.’ Behold, I have told you.” (Mt 28:2-7) The women did as they were told. Along the way, they met Jesus Who greeted them. The women approached, embraced His feet and did Him homage. (Cf. Mt 28:8-9)

The guards reported what they saw to the Jewish authorities. To distort the truth, the Jewish leaders fabricated a lie that the disciples stole the dead body of Jesus and instructed the guards to tell just that when questioned. The Jewish authorities would watch their backs, they assured them, and would keep them out of trouble with Pilate. It was bad enough that Pilate had no lawyer to cross examine the guards for their lie. Or would Pilate have even bothered to check the veracity of the guards’ statements? Up to the present, this lie was perpetuated exactly as instructed.

Jesus met with His disciples and appeared to them several times for forty days before His ascension to heaven. Thus, we have the evidence of the Empty Tomb, the Angel as personally seen by the guards, the two women, and the apostles as proof of Christ’s resurrection.

Jesus knew that from the point of view of the Jewish leaders, the evidence so far and the witnesses for His resurrection could be perceived as biased, as coming from His ranks. He needed a disinterested witness to prove definitively His resurrection.

Jesus not only chose a disinterested witness for this purpose. He chose the bitterest mortal enemy of Himself and the early Christian Church, Saul from Tarsus, the one who supervised and approved of Stephen’s murder. A zealous Jew with a Roman citizenship, he vowed to the One God of Israel that he would stamp out these “bandits of the false way” and eradicate the early Christian Church from the face of Israel to the utmost of his abilities. The Bible described him, thus: “Now Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues of Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.” (Acts 9:1-2)

Then the unexpected happened. Little did Saul know that he, the archenemy of Christ and His Church, would be Christ’s champion Apostle for the Gentiles, and would proclaim to all Israel and to all the world that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and He had indeed risen. While he was on his journey going to Damascus, a light so strong and brilliant that it blinded his eyes, flashed from the sky around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me.” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.” The men who were traveling with him heard the voice but could see no one. Saul’s eyes were blinded and for three days, he was unable to see. He neither ate nor drank.” (Acts 9:3-9)

Saul’s world and everything he believed in crumbled. He believed in Judaism and the only One God of Israel. He did not believe in any Son of God. And he neither believed that Christ was the true Son of God, the Messiah, the One who was foretold by the Prophets. But he could not counter the solid evidence he experienced. Jesus was a Heavenly Being he encountered. Thus, he addressed Him, “Lord.” And it was Jesus Christ Whom he was persecuting Who showed Himself along the road to Damascus. Being a truthful Jewish pharisee, a servant of God dedicated to truth, he could not pervert the truth like the other Jewish authorities did. It was evidence that Jesus Christ is Lord, the Son of God, and He has indeed risen from death.

Thus, Saul, under his new name, “Paul,” boldly proclaimed: “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.”

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, He appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all He appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.”

“For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.  Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.” (1 Cor 15:1-11)

Paul said further, “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.” (1 Cor 15:14)

Jesus was not only a great Physician. He was also a brilliant Lawyer!

“The Sign of Jonah”

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“An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Mt 12:40)

Jesus’ Passion, Death and Harrowing in Hell

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Jesus' Passion, Death and Harrowing in Hell

Jesus said in the Book, “Jesus Christ Narrates His Passion” translated by Fr. Adolf Faroni, SDB, based on a private revelation to Sister Beghe: “Look at My Face which bleeds! What do I wish to tell you? I really have to tell you something! Do you still listen to Me? Will you have pity on Me if you see Me bleeding so? I suffer for you!”

St. Paul said, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor 5:21)

In the biblical account of Christ’s passion and death, on the night He was betrayed, on the first Maundy Thursday, Jesus wept and prayed and sweat fell to the ground like drops of blood, so much was His anguish and agony. When arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, His hands, feet and neck were put in chains like a criminal. Before the council of the Sanhedrin, the High Priest, Herod, and Pilate, Jesus was beaten and spat on the face. Through the grueling bodily torture and humiliation, Jesus stayed meek and silent before His torturers. His flesh was flayed when He was scourged at the pillar at Pilate’s command, and there He lay on the pool of His own blood. The Roman soldiers made a crown of thorns and placed it on His head. They dressed Him in purple robe and mocked Him. When He was sentenced to die on the cross, Jesus embraced the cross. Along the way of the cross, He was whipped repeatedly beneath the crushing weight of the cross. Jesus staggered and fell several times. On top of Mt. Golgotha, Jesus was made to lie on the cross with hands outstretched and there the Roman soldiers drove three long, blunt nails into His hands and feet.

Through the jeers of the crowd, the coldness of His impending death, and the agony of His Spirit, Jesus cried in a loud voice, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” which means, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” (Mt. 27:46) Before Jesus breathed His last, He gave a loud cry and said, “FATHER, INTO YOUR HANDS, I COMMEND MY SPIRIT.” (Lk 23:46)

The Apostles’ Creed says that Jesus descended to the dead. The “abode of the dead” where Jesus descended after His death is called “Hell”, (“Sheol” in Hebrew, and “Hades” in Greek). Those who are there are deprived of the vision of God, whether evil or righteous, while the latter await the Redeemer. (Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 633)

In that Descent into Hell was the most harrowing torture of Jesus Christ, according to the book “Jesus Christ Narrates His Passion.” The Uncreated Spirit of Christ and the Created Soul of Christ cleaved together, as everything is attracted towards the Spirit of God. St. Paul spoke of a spirit, soul and body being distinct from one another. (Cf. Heb 4:12, 1 Thes. 5:23) But Jesus had to separate His Soul from His Spirit to go to Hell in order to redeem the souls of the just awaiting His redemption there.

As Jesus suffered in His mortal Body during His passion on earth, in the same breath, He suffered the tortures of Hell in His Soul. It was an Immolation of His Body, Soul and Spirit to the Father as the Atoning Victim for the sins of humanity. In that Descent into Hell, the souls of the just were saved and the souls of the “lukewarm” who are not in a state of rebellion or hatred against God, but are simply poor souls without will or who do not have a taste for anything, awakened from their sleep and were touched by the Light of Christ that henceforth, they all looked forward to the Hope of Christ’s salvation.

The book “Jesus Christ Narrates His Passion” bears the seal of imprimatur and nihil obstat required by the Catholic Church, which means that the book contains nothing objectionable to the teachings of the Catholic Church. A private revelation, however, does not add to the totality of the public revelation made by Jesus Christ as recorded in the Bible and as contained in the Traditions. A private revelation can only increase private devotion. Be it public or private, the Spirit of Jesus desires to awaken in us an unwavering faith and love for Him, the Father and His Church. Jesus said in the Diary of St. Faustina, “If My death has not convinced you of My love, what will?”

Behold the Humility of God

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Behold the Humility of God

“Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (Jn 13: 12-15)

Jesus in the Confessional

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Jesus in the Confessional

I read a lot of Hollywood stars who go to psychotherapists, psychiatrists and psychologists for a handsome fee just so someone will listen to them. These mind professionals choose from a range of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, reality therapy, Kent therapy, transactional analysis, etc., to use on their patients/clients. Psychoanalysis and psychotherapists use free association based on Sigmund Freud’s theory of the id, ego, and super ego. Reality Therapy developed by William Glasser gives more stress on the individual’s present action rather than his past experiences and present mental health. Transactional analysis developed by Dr. Thomas A. Harris concentrates more on the Parent/Child recordings in the mind of the individual and the Adult perception of reality. A modern author, Dr. M. Scott Peck, stresses an individual’s discipline and sense of responsibility for his overall well being.

Other people try the more popular radio programs for advice from the DJs who either take the callers seriously or just make fun of them on air.

When a person commits a sin, depending on his religious upbringing, background and morality, the peace equilibrium is, in most cases, disturbed. There are sins which one may see as petty like saying a white lie or just being plain lazy. Some sins are committed for the first time by a person. Other sins are more serious which may pose a serious danger to the society, the family, or to the person committing the sin. It is the disturbed equilibrium which causes a psychological or spiritual contraction, so to speak, where the tension gathers strength in the person, until the tension reaches to a point that it seeks release.  The person feels a sense of guilt or remorse and wants to revert to his former peace of mind. A person, if he has a strong conscience, will not find peace until he feels a sense of forgiveness and starts anew with a clean slate. In contrast, a person with little or no religious and moral background can take the tension until it reaches to a point that his conscience is hardened and he does not feel any pang of guilt anymore. This peace equilibrium in the mind or psyche of the person is what makes for a good mental and spiritual health. Without this peace equilibrium being restored in the person who commits a sin, he may drift from day to day unfocused, ineffective and even self-destructive.

Jesus said,”… If your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Mt. 6:23) It is this light within us which we must attempt to be always light, so we will not be engulfed in darkness. When Jesus Christ instituted the Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation, He was acting as our Spiritual Therapist. He knew that like the prodigal son, we will feel the need to go back to the Father, even if it may be repetitive in the process, He knowing fully well how weak we are. Jesus said in the Diary of St. Faustina that He is always waiting for us in the confessional. He knows that time and time again, we will need healing of the spirit, mind and body. For this purpose, among others, Jesus instituted  likewise the Sacrament of the Priesthood so the priest will be an “alter christus,” another Christ, to hear the confession of His faithfuls. No one can take the special place of a priest who is the only person who can hear confession in behalf of Christ. Christ has exalted His priests so much so that even the angel who was giving Holy Communion to St. Faustina did not arrogate that special and exalted office for himself.

Priests are, so to speak, modern therapists looking after the overall well being of their penitents. The seal of secrecy assures them that they can open their minds and hearts to the priests with a deep sense of trust and confidence. And they serve without a handsome fee because they do that in the name of and in behalf of Christ, their Big Boss.

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From LYRICSMODE.COM lyrics archive

Lyrics | Martin Nievera lyricsThe Promise lyrics” title=”The Day God Sang to Me”>The Day God Sang to Me

I once asked God how He can love a wretched and poor person as I am. I asked Him how man, imperfect and impure, can be one with Him in heaven when He is so perfect and pure. I posed that question to Him one night before I slept.

The next day, after work, my husband and I went to the mall to eat out and relax a little. Before we went home, we heard Mass at the chapel inside the mall. At the start of the Mass, the priest said, “We are God’s beloved and He will never say goodbye to us.” My heart was struck by an arrow shot from a quiver. My tears were running down copiously from my eyes, not to mention my nose. During the homily, the priest presented a video over a projector featuring the song “I’ll Never Say Goodbye” from the 1979 movie hit “The Promise.” My heart was burning. I felt like God was answering the question I posed to Him the night before. We are God’s beloved and He could not afford, not even for a single moment, to be away from us.

A few days after, I came across the book of St. John of the Cross, his Collected Works. The book spoke of an active and a passive night of the soul. The active night is our voluntary action, where we are the doer. The passive night is God’s action alone, where God is the sole doer. It is through the passive night that God purifies our soul so we can be pure and perfect like Him. St. John of the Cross called the process “making us God by participation.” My heart was bursting.God took the time to answer my question and to assure me that I will be together with Him in heaven. God will make us pure and perfect by His sole desire and action on our soul because we are His beloved. We have a very sweet and thoughtful God.