Think of the boundaries and limits that we create for ourselves. The people we regard as being less than us, the people we look down on, the people on the other side of our boundaries. This might be people who disagree with us about politics—how could any sensible person think this Prime Minister, or this Premier, is any good at all. It might be people who disagree with us about moral issues, or sexuality, or religion. How could any sensible person not agree with me about LGBT issues, or not see that this religion is full of terrorists, or that church is full of pedophiles? Sometimes, people put up boundaries based on gender or race, usually defining men as superior, or those who don’t have white skin as inferior. It seems to me that human beings often delight in putting up boundaries, in defining who is ‘in’ and who is ‘out’, who is good and who is bad, who is worthy, who is worthless.
During his life on earth, Jesus walked right through the boundaries that surrounded him. Boundaries of politics between those who collaborated with the Romans, like priests and tax collectors, and the Pharisees who despised them, boundaries of race between Jew and Samaritan, or Jew and Roman, boundaries of health that cut off lepers as unclean, boundaries that defined who was, and wasn’t, respectable, gender boundaries that cut off women from any social mixing with men.
Throughout the gospels, we see Jesus walking right through all those boundaries.
And today, of course, we celebrate that he walked right through the boundary between death and life.
In today’s gospel, it is the women, Mary the mother of James, Mary of Magdala, and Salome, who are the first witnesses of this, apostles to the apostles. They are breaking boundaries right there.
Jesus break boundaries, and is generous with himself. His generosity is beyond justice, beyond giving people what they deserve. Thats why he eat and drank with the apostles, including those who’d run away or denied him, after his resurrection. His generosity is why we share his body and blood at Mass. If we are to follow Jesus we need to imitate his generosity, and be aware of the boundaries that might be in our mind, our behaviour, and be willing to step over them.
One of the complaints respectable people had about Jesus was that he eat and drank with sinners. He eats and drinks with us today.
Fr Joe made the point on Thursday night that Jesus invites all people to the table, and not just all people, but all that is in us, the respectable bits of us, and the unrespectable, the bits of us we like, the bits we’re ashamed of, the Jesus bits and the Judas bits.
As I hope all of us will have the opportunity to feast with those we love this Easter, may we also think of the boundaries we might put up, the judgements we make of others and ourselves, and remember that Jesus rises for all, lives in all, and that our calling as Christians is to recognise the Christ in all our brothers and sisters.
Dcn Jim Curtain
4 April 2021