Year A - Easter or Assured
April 20, 2014
Originally the "gates of righteousness" alluded to the gates of the Temple which were entered after a victory. This is a very physical, architectural image.
Traditions added to Easter shift these gates to a tomb entered before a victory is achieved. There is also a shift from a communal procession to an individual dividing line.
At play here is a door stranger than those in Monsters, Inc. These shifts call for a door that can magically sift a person’s life and determine their righteousness. The righteous find a triumph beyond these gates while the unrighteous find punishment. The state of your being is only decided here (hooray for death-bed conversions?).
See how this one-ups a common response by turning it on its head as much as does a rejected stone becoming a key stone?
What was once a day that put a stamp of approval, “resurrection”, victory, or mission accomplished is now only a prelude to a resurrection to be claimed. These gates are no longer those to which provisions/sacrifice is brought but a provisional gate.
Yes, it can be argued that Jesus has accomplished a victory over a boasting grave and that his followers approach their death and tomb in the light of his resurrection, sure and certain of their own. This atonement approach misses the existential realities that are taught and catch us between Sunday School bunnies, doctrines of original sin, and limits of interplay between hope and doubt.
Oh, never mind, “Happy Easter”.