What think you of Christ?

Sister Sharon Murray | 19 April 2017

I recall the funeral of a student of mine, a charming, fun-loving fellow named Frankie. He and his friends were looking forward to graduation in a few weeks, and decided to celebrate in a nearby town. They never made it there because of a terrible car accident.

At his funeral, the beauty of the Easter liturgies was still fresh in the minds of all who had so recently participated in the holy days, and now they came to grieve. Everyone in town, especially Frankie’s fellow students, came to say goodbye and to ask “why?” Of all young men in the area, why Frankie? Why this warm human being who had a smile and kind word for everyone who came his way?

The priest, Father Bob, knew each student by name, and touched each with his understanding and genuine interest in their lives. In answer to their “why,” he asked the question: “What think you of Christ?” He reminded us that Christ lived and laughed and gave of Himself for all of us and, in much the same way, Frankie lived and laughed and gave of himself. As the Risen Christ lives on in each of us, so does Frankie. The breath of eternal life was breathed into this young man, and into every redeemed sinner, by Christ’s saving death and resurrection. Father Bob invited us to look deeply into our store of faith, and believe with all our hearts that life goes on, and the spirit of that first Easter morning not only remains, but continues to be ever present in resurrected splendor for as long as we dare to welcome it.

We, here and now, what think we of Christ? Paul says, “Although you have never seen him, you love him, and rejoice with inexpressible joy touched with glory because you are achieving faith’s goal, your salvation.” What a marvelous tribute to all who believe, who embrace that peace which the world cannot give. We recognize our kinship with Thomas who mingled doubt with disbelief in his growing and deepening faith. With him and the other disciples, we rejoice in the fact that we, too, are rooted in the sure and abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. We are, as St. Augustine said, “an Easter people and Alleluia is our song.” We sing “alleluia” not only for what was, but for what is and will forever be. We are charged with carrying on the family name of “Christian,” and keeping alive the spiritual heritage bequeathed to us by Christ.

The message is clear: we are the body of Christ. You and I, warts and all, are commissioned to live our faith. It would be grand if Christian community today could be more like that early community described in the Acts of the Apostles. However, we know that this ideal community didn’t last long. Amazingly, though we continue to fall short, though the whole of the Christian community has struggled to live that ideal over the centuries, though our words are usually more eloquent than our deeds, we are still here, attesting to the presence of Christ among us. The struggle goes on; our meager yet persistent attempt to make Christ visible day after day will continue to encourage others for at least another 2,000 years.

This is what we think of Christ. He is the Easter alleluia we sing. He is the one who has known death, and has risen to show us the way to peace such as we have never known. He lives on in each one of us, blessing us in a most special way. “Blest are they who have not seen and have believed.”