resurrection of jesus christ, painting, iconography-4627099.jpg

Is Resurrection Our Belief or Personal Conviction?

Christians go to Church on Easter day believing that Jesus Christ is Risen. On Easter, I would like everyone to
challenge ourselves by asking; is Jesus truly risen? If we believe that Jesus is risen, is it only our belief or our
personal conviction? To get a credible, reliable, and honest answer, it is good to know the difference between belief and personal conviction. Webster’s New World Dictionary second edition defines; “belief as acceptance that certain things are true or real; and conviction as the state of being convinced as of the truth of a belief.” Again, Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines; “belief as feeling that something or somebody is real and true; and conviction as the appearance of being sincere; firmly believed and truly meant.” Both dictionaries state that conviction is much more robust, firmer, and convincing than just belief. Now my doubt is; is the resurrection of Jesus a belief or a personal conviction? In my personal experience as a priest, I have come to understand that to some of us, it appears more as a belief than a personal conviction, at least sometimes

“I believe in
God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ…”

In a catholic church, every Sunday, we profess either the Nicaean Creed or the Apostle Creed, saying, “I believe in God the Father all might, creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son of our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was
buried, he descended into hell; on the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.” In fact, the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus (Easter) is a wake-up call for all of us to move from just only a belief to a personal conviction of our life.

christ, jesus, religion-3480201.jpg

I want to share with you one incident from the life of Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin, a Soviet political leader. He was one of the most powerful men in Russia, a permanent member of their parliament, editor of their publication, and a great author in political science and economics. His writings are even read today. He participated in the Bolshevik Revolution the same year Our Lady appeared in Fatima in 1917. There is a story about his journey from Moscow to Kyiv in 1930 to address a huge crowd. The subject was, of course, to spread communism, socialism, and atheism. He attacked Christianity! He even insulted Christianity and argued against the church and Christians. He talked to the crowd for hours. At the end of his talk, he was confident that he had convinced the crowd that they should reject Christ and Christianity and embrace atheism. He asked the crowd if anyone had any questions. After a long pause, an elderly gentleman came up to the stage and shouted at the top of his voice, saying: “CHRIST IS RISEN!” And the people passionately exclaimed with one thundering voice: “HE IS RISEN INDEED!” This elderly man added, ” I know Christ died and rose from the dead. But you may ask me how I know that the resurrection is real. Indeed, someone told me about it. Someone who saw and experienced the resurrection of Christ made a record of it, and I believe. If you don’t believe me for this reason, how do you believe people walked on the moon? Christopher Columbus discovered America? It is not because we see with our eyes, but we rely on the reliable sources available to us”. The personal conviction of this elderly gentleman was able to sustain the crowd’s faith and personal conviction despite the tempest created by Nikolai Bukharin.

The resurrection of Christ is real and is it is the foundation of the Christian Faith and the assurance of our resurrection one day. Yes, the resurrection of Jesus cannot remain just as merely a belief that was handed over to us by our parents, teachers, community, or others; but it has to grow as a powerful personal conviction of our everyday life. Only then we can share the same conviction with others and make a difference in the life of others. The elderly gentleman was a great model and inspiration to all of us. The world needs the types of people who can inspire and move mountains in the right direction despite the storms and tribulations around us today.

May God bless us all!

Fr. Tomy J. Puliyan, MSFS

Holiness and Happiness through Wellness and Wholeness!