Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Foolishness of The Cross

St. John Chrysostom's homily on Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians lays a persuasive case for the factuality of the Resurrection; that being, if it weren't true, would anybody buy it?

St. John Chrysostom writes: "Did they perhaps say to themselves: “What is this? He could not save himself but he will protect us? He did not help himself when he was alive, but now that he is dead he will extend a helping hand to us? In his lifetime he brought no nation under his banner, but by uttering his name we will win over the whole world?” Would it not be wholly irrational even to think such thoughts, much less to act upon them?"

How else can you explain the behavior of the 12 apostles, practical men who "lived on lakes and rivers and wastelands"? They couldn't stand up to the Jews when Christ was alive, yet they gained courage from the apparent defeat of their teacher on the Cross? And not only were emboldened to speak but also to find ways (these impoverished, uneducated men) to travel the world spreading the Gospel? It makes no sense if you look at it logically. It is foolishness. But what these apostles saw defies human wisdom, and so we must conclude, as St. John Chrysostom did:"It is evident, then, that if they had not seen him risen and had proof of his power, they would not have risked so much."