Taste and see: Heavenly life

Christ, Arles2013There were two alternatives for the Second reading at Mass on Easter Sunday.

The first of them, from Paul’s letter to the Colossians, is given below, and the second included at the end of this posting.

Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand. Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth, because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God. But when Christ is revealed – and he is your life – you too will be revealed in all your glory with him.

Colossians 3:1-4

‘Far, far away, above the clouds, beyond the rain… Somewhere over the rainbow….’

So goes the song. Is Paul saying just the same thing?

Jesus said from the beginning of his ministry, echoing the teaching of John the Baptist, the Kingdom of God is very near to us. Not far, far away… not a dream, a fancy, of what might be, but a realisation of what is even now, if we will wake to it.

True, the demonstration of the truth of this, and pledge of its future fulfilment, is in Christ now in heaven itself at the Father’s right hand. But the kingdom is also really close at our hand.

In the Resurrection our attention shifts from the worldly to the heavenly, but again not as escapism and fantasy, but a deeper engagement with what truly is, and that can be revealed by our better living.

– – –

You must know how even a small amount of yeast is enough to leaven all the dough, so get rid of all the old yeast, and make yourselves into a completely new batch of bread, unleavened as you are meant to be. Christ, our passover, has been sacrificed; let us celebrate the feast, then, by getting rid of all the old yeast of evil and wickedness, having only the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

1 Corinthians 5:6-8

Image of the Resurrected Christ and the faithful. Musée de l’Arles antique , Arles, France. Photograph (c) Allen Morris, 2013.

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