Saturday, April 7, 2018

Superstar vs. Godspell

"The chief priests assembled with the elders and took counsel; then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, "You are to say, 'His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep."
Matthew 28:12-13

It’s the day after Easter; another Monday - another snowstorm.  I pour a cup of coffee, open my laptop and scan the news to see what I’ve missed during the Triduum. I click on a you-tube video and watch the buzzer beater that gave Notre Dame the NCAA women’s basketball championship.  Then I check social media.  Two things dominate:  Easter Alleluias and the buzz about the live telecast of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Enough procrastination, it’s time to get to work. I begin with the scripture readings. The verses at the top of this article send sparks of ideas shooting through my brain.

Unfortunately, the Holy Spirit has tricked me. Instead of reading the gospel for the second Sunday of Easter, I have read the Gospel for Easter Monday. Not being one to argue with the Holy Spirit, I begin to write.

Like many who posted on social media, my feelings on Jesus Christ Superstar were based on a comparison with Godspell. My gut reaction: “There was lot of the Gospel in Godspell but not much in Superstar.

A post by friend offered a valid explanation; “Godspell was written from the perspective of Matthew's gospel where Jesus Christ Superstar was written from the perspective of Judas. These differing perspectives make all the difference.
The 28th chapter of Matthew offers two differing perspectives as well.  Both the soldiers and the Mary Magdeline and Mary the mother of Salome saw the angel of the Lord.  Both groups were gripped by fear.  But each group saw and responded from a different perspective. 

The soldiers were bribed to see the side of the status quo and remained in fear. The two women heard and heeded the words of the angel. Still fearful yet overjoyed the women ran from the tomb ….and behold, Jesus met them on the way and greeted them. ( Matt. 28 9a)

The witness of these two women was kindle (pun intended) to a fire that burns to this day.  It brought millions of Catholics to a holy fire outside darkened churches last Saturday night. 

They and we come to hear the resounding echo of the perspective of two women informed by the Holy Spirit through the voice of an angel:

“….Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified.  He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said".
                                                                           Matt. 28:5-6a



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