In these days of corona virus, we are really torn between the things above and the things below. Heaven and earth. Our silences and our solitudes have slowed us down. We seeking answers from above, looking for soulful solutions to answer the question, “Why?

There are plenty answers out there, most of them being half-baked, half-truths, or half-brained. Perhaps my use of “self” is being generous. Political and religious answers from evangelicals are a lot less than “halved.” The economic answers are even more disconcerting, because these involve the idolization of money over the values of life. The economy is more important than people, a concept touted about by the elites, the wealthy, the politically connected. More than anyone would have imagined, this is the sword which will test what it means for America to be great again. The solution is not the snake oil of the Pharisees, in whatever modern guise they are not dressed (to kill, I might add).

Just as in the thick of things in ancient Colossos, even today St. Paul’s words in the second Easter reading challenges us. Caught up in hoarding shopping and physically providing for ourselves, this time of solicitude catches us up short to also seek the things that are above. We’ve gone so long without considering the things above, that we’ve almost forgotten how to do the seeking of them.

To seek the things above is not just some meditative or intellectual exercise, but rather an active engagement. Paul is speaking about our end, the final cause of our lives, the why we are here, the ultimate orientation of our lives. He names it in this brief reading of four verses. “You will appear with Him in glory.”

In other words are oriented toward the resurrection, life above, and not more and more of this mere shadow of life here below on earth. Yet it is to this earth and in this mortal life that we are so trapped and enmeshed. Paul writes very bluntly, “For you have died . . .” For him, this is an absolute given, an already completed fact. Therefore our concern is not with the here and now, but rather with the things of heaven.

These things are the lovingkindness, the mercy of our God that endures forever. This is an absolute alteration of our mortal lives into something eternal, raised up, transformed. This all gets to the heart of Easter, all these things above, are put on full display by the Church.

Today I see out my window that very first green of leaves coming forth from the three ash trees and two sunburst locusts on the lawn here. It is a moment of hope and promise of spring to come. In the winter months I can see through the trees to Long’s Peak, one of Colorado’s fourteeners, and now soon with a week or so, the full leafed trees with bring my sight right up close. This introspection is what Paul is asking of the disciple at this Easter moment. The question is: am I living this resurrection now, today, right here? Or not?

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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