Sundays do not count in the enumeration of the days of Lent, because, even though Lent focuses on the death of Christ, Sundays are always celebrations of Christ’s resurrection. So, for my Sunday posts during Lent, the focus will be on the resurrection. For the first Sunday of Lent this year, I have chosen to share a quotation from the great Roman Catholic New Testament scholar, Raymond Brown. Two of the greatest accomplishments of Brown’s career were the massive works, The Birth of Christ, on Matthew’s and Luke’s infancy narratives (1977, 800 pages), and the two-volume, The Death of Messiah, on the gospel passion narratives (1994, 1600 pages).
Brown passed away in 1998 at the age of 70. The concluding paragraph in the preface to The Death of the Messiah, which the author penned on Ash Wednesday, February 24, 1993, five years before his death, is a poignant one. Brown writes:
A Surprising number of people have asked if I plan a trilogy to conclude with The Resurrection of the Messiah. Responding with mock indignation that I have written two books on the resurrection (a response that conveniently ignores the fact that neither is truly a commentary), I tell them emphatically that I have no such plans. I would rather explore that area “face to face.”
I trust that Father Brown has enjoyed “exploring that area ‘face to face’’’ for the last sixteen years. I trust that we shall explore that area as well. Because Christ lives, we too shall live, and we too shall see his face.
February 22, 2015