The basic theme which runs through all the Easter stories is surprise. The stories, which arose perhaps in different traditions, do not always fit into a coherent pattern. But the theme is always the same. The disciples in the upper room, especially poor Thomas, the couple (man and woman perhaps) on the road to Emmaus , Peter and his crowd on the shores of Galilee, were all astonished.
The person they encountered was clearly Jesus – as ambiguous and challenging as ever – though a little different too. But he was surely Jesus. Who had died on the cross. But here he was still alive, still teaching, still eating with them.
How could this be? Even to this day the surprise ought to endure. The Resurrection is less a proof than it is a surprise, an astonishing, delightful, enigmatic surprise
Fr. Greeley's Last Book:
Once upon a time, during one of the many wars in which our country has engaged, a bright young man, fresh out of high school enlisted in the air force and entered flight training. He was an intelligent, charming, likeable kid, thoughtful, sensitive, considerate. He qualified as a pilot and went off to the war. On his last mission his plane was hot down. He was listed as missing in action. His family and friends were devastated. He was too young, you promising, too nice to die so young. Then the sad news came. He was not listed as killed in action.
Then two years later he suddenly returned, alive and well, and apparently unchanged. He did not (perhaps could not) talk about his survival. Otherwise he was just like he used to be, no trace of the ordeal he had endured. He went back to school, began to play basketball and softball, dated the young woman he had gone to the prom with and was the same as ever. Only not quite the same. As time went on his friends and family noticed he was different, though they couldn’t quite say how. He seemed a little more thoughtful, a little more gentle, a little more sensitive.
Sometimes he seemed like a very different person and then this changed and he was his old self again. Finally the prom girl asked him when they were walking back from a softball game, “Were you really dead?” “I often thought I was, but I guess I wasn’t.” What difference did it make she asked. He hesitated. “All the difference in the world. Now I’ll never be afraid of death again.”
1 O come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Catholics and the Struggle with Their Church
The survey of the archdiocese, which Father Greeley describes as "a very complicated place" demographically, asks some difficult questions, and finds some interesting truths.
In Memory of Father Andrew M. Greeley
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