Christ the perfect mediator of salvation is Christ the Victor over death. For Luke the raising of the young man of Nain (Gosp) is a sign of the coming of the messianic times. To express this he constructs his account on the models of Elijah’s miracle (1R) while showing in a series of particularities the infinite superiority of Jesus.
THE REVIVAL OF THE WIDOW’S SON IS A SIGN
In v.22 of same chapter to define His identity Jesus says: “the dead will be raised”, He announces a fact that already took place. This messianic hope is based on Is 61:1;55,5-6;26,19. In this context Judaism foresaw, by the end of times and the inauguration of the messianic era in which the Messiah would heal all human sufferings and deficiencies, a general resurrection of those who died before and expected Elijah to return to earth to preside over the inauguration of these times. But the miracle which Jesus performs, if it reveals dominion over death, is however only a sign in so far as the revival of a corpse is only a momentary victory and not definitive. The total liberation from death and every evil and therefore “definitive salvation of life” is only the “resurrection of Jesus”. The resurrection of Jesus is not a revival of the body, but a new animation that is glorious and difficult from that of the incarnation. It is the entry of Christ into a new condition of existence. The resurrection of Christ is the divine act through which God, today, saves us and the entire humanity in our human existence. Salvation, therefore, is not in man as such or in the entire humanity, nor in their progressive development even if it is prolonged to the infinite. There is necessary a “passage”, a divine intervention that is absolutely new: the passage of man into God, that is the Passover of Christ which God actualizes in the Son made man. A passage of man into God which invests the entire man, body and soul, history and universe. Luke filled the account with paschal intuition and says: “The Lord had compassion”.
THE RISEN CHRIST, SALVATION OF MAN
Now Jesus is “Lord” in so far as He is risen. This means that only in the resurrection is Jesus fully revealed as truly God and truly man. The resurrection, bringing Christ to the threshold of the world of the Father, abolished for always the limits imposed by His assumption of the weights of human existence signed by sin and so took away the veil which covered His “glory”. Moreover, with the death-resurrection the incarnation is completed; the human dimension of Jesus is totalized and with it the translation of the Son in human terms reaches its fulfillment that is the Son became fully man and the man became fully Son.
To believe in the resurrection, therefore, signifies also to believe that the divinizing filiation and the liberation from sin are now reality. They are the Risen Jesus who brings any man who sincerely abandons himself to Him to the full filial Trinitarian communion with the Father.
This is also the gospel of Paul. He announces what he “saw”-the risen Christ. The experience of the risen Lord is at the root of his vocation and mission (2R).
IN CHRIST THE FUTURE IS ALREADY PRESENT
Even today we still face the question: Is Christ only the forerunner of a future kingdom, the herald of an ethics yet to be defined, or is the kingdom already present in the intimacy of His presence?
The first Christians resisted the temptation to reduce Jesus to the office of a new Elijah and transferred this parallels to John the Baptist. Also today it is not possible to accept that Jesus is reduced to a simple herald of a renewed humanity. He is this humanity. In Him the future is already present. Looking at the world, this immense theatre where the wonderful action of man unfolds, we have alternatively the sensation of a gigantic and fearful appearance and vanity or of an absolute and consoling reality. It depends on how we look at it. If we look at it with the eyes of faith in the resurrection that the world and history are saved from the frustration of non-being, we remain trustful because our history is, in time, the history of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Humanity has before it not nothingness without end but the fullness of life without end. The risen Christ is the future of man.
God bless you!