“There is no tale ever told,” author J.R.R. Tolkien once wrote in an essay on storytelling, that people “would rather find was true.” Hello, I’m Franciscan Father Greg Friedman, with the “Sunday Soundbite” for Easter Sunday. The Catholic author of the The Lord of the Rings was speaking of the story of Jesus. Today, as we accompany Peter and the Beloved Disciple, making their way to the tomb, we might echo Tolkien’s comment.
Our faith, as St. Paul tells the Corinthians, rests on the reality of Jesus’ resurrection. We base everything on the truth of the story. But establishing that truth is not a matter of science, history or archaeology. Rather, as we seek to grow in faith, we call upon the Holy Spirit, who lives within the Christian community. In the Easter Gospels, we hear the witness of the first followers of Jesus: Jesus was risen; they had experienced him, alive in their midst. Their testimony in the Spirit moves us to a faith-filled “Alleluia.”
It’s true that we live in a skeptical age. And yet in his essay, J.R.R. Tolkien pays tribute to the power of the Christian proclamation. He notes that there is no other story which so many skeptics “have accepted as true on its own merits.”
Our Easter Gospel is a story of living faith, in which we are participants, and to which we are now witnesses. The Spirit of the living Christ has called us to testify to its truth.