Many crises are plaguing humanity: the economic crisis bringing down the big banks in central countries, the political crisis with the worldwide rise of right-wing and extreme right-wing policies, the crisis of democracies in almost all countries, the crisis of the State more bureaucratized, the crisis of globalized capitalism that fails to solve the problems it itself created, generating an accumulation of wealth in very few hands in a sea of poverty and misery, the ethical crisis, as values of the great tradition of humanity no longer count, but the postmodern anything goes, the crisis of humanism because relations of hatred and barbarism prevail in social relations, the crisis of civilization that began to introduce autonomous artificial intelligence that articulates billions of algorithms, makes decisions, independently of the human will, putting our common future at risk, the health crisis that has hit all of humanity due to Covid-19, the ecological crisis that, if we do not take care of the biosphere, alerts us to a possible and terminal tragedy of the life-system and the -Earth. Behind all these crises there is an even greater crisis: the crisis of the spirit which represents a crisis of human life on this planet.
Spirit is that moment in conscious life when we realize that we belong to a greater whole, earthly and cosmic, that we are at the mercy of a powerful and loving Energy that sustains all things and ourselves. We have the specific faculty of being able to dialogue with it and open ourselves to it, identifying a Meaning greater than everything that permeates and that responds to our impulse of infinity. The life of the spirit (which neurologists call the “God point” in the brain) is buried by the irreflectable desire to accumulate material goods, consumerism, selfishness and a profound lack of solidarity.
After August 1945, the USA launching two nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we became aware that we can self-annihilate. That risk has increased with the arms race, including nine nations, with chemical and biological weapons and some 16,000 nuclear warheads. The current war between Russia and Ukraine made Putin threaten the use of nuclear weapons, bringing the apocalyptic fear of the end of the human species.
In this scenario, how to celebrate the greatest feast of Christendom which is Easter, the resurrection of the Crucified, Jesus of Nazareth? Resurrection must not be understood as the reanimation of a dead body like that of Lazarus. Resurrection, in the words of Saint Paul, represents the irruption of “novissimus Adam (1Cor 15,45), that is to say, of the new human being, whose infinite virtualities present in him (we are an infinite project) fully emerge. In this way it appears as a revolution in evolution, an anticipation of the good end of human life. The Risen One gained a cosmic dimension, never left the world and fills the entire universe.
In this sense, the Resurrection is not the memory of a past, but the celebration of a present, always present to bring us joy, the soft smile in the certainty that the murdered death of Jesus of Nazareth, Good Friday, is just a passage to a life, free from death and fully realized: the resurrection. The gloomy horizon cleared and the Sun of hope broke through.
Thinking in terms of the all-encompassing cosmogenic process, the resurrection is not outside of it. On the contrary, it is a new emergence of cosmogenesis and hence its universal value, beyond the leap of faith. Resurrection is the synthesis of the dialectic, from which Hegel took his dialectic, of life (thesis), of death (antithesis) and of resurrection (synthesis). This is the end of everything, now anticipated for our joy. It is the true genesis, not of the beginning, but of the end already reached.
I consider St. Mark’s version of the resurrection to be the most realistic and true. It ends with the risen Jesus, saying to the women: “Go tell the apostles and Peter that he (the Risen One) goes before you to Galilee. There you will see him as I told you” (Mk 16:7). And so it ends. The reported apparitions, scholars believe, would be a later addition. That is to say: we are all on our way to Galilee to meet the Risen One.
He personally rose, but his resurrection was not completed while his brothers and sisters and the whole of nature had not yet risen. We are on the way, waiting for the Risen One who has not yet fully revealed himself. For this reason, the world phenomenologically remains the same or worse, with wars and moments of peace, with goodness and perversity, as if there had not been resurrection as a sign of overcoming this ambiguous reality.
Even so, after Christ is risen, we can no longer be sad: the good end is guaranteed.
Happy Easter celebrations for all those who can make this journey and also for those who cannot.
Leonardo Boff wrote: The resurrection of Christ and ours in death, Orbis Books.NY1972 several editions.