“For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.” I take such comfort in these closing words of today’s Gospel. Because even amid the joy and celebration — the Alleluias sung at full volume and the flowers so fragrant I could swoon from the scent — there is a little piece of me that still doesn’t understand, that probably will never understand the resurrection, at least not this side of heaven.
I think we believe that we should understand, and maybe we even nod our head and say, “Amen, amen,” as if it’s all perfectly clear, and yet the truth is that none of it is clear, none of it makes sense from our human perspective. We have to take it on faith; there’s no other way. That means believing in something we do not fully understand with our heads but know without question in the depths of our heart. Like Mary of Magdala, we run to the Lord and then cry out in confusion when we don’t find him where he is supposed to be, when we don’t hear his answer to our prayers.
Today, on Easter, we rejoice in Christ’s victory over the cross and joyfully embrace the unearned gift of Jesus’ resurrection and our salvation, letting our confusion and doubt slip below the surface as the waters of new life wash over us. Intellectual understanding is not necessary after all. We are pilgrims on a journey with no end.
This reflection first appeared in the April issue of Give Us This Day.