Have you ever had to swear that Jesus Christ is risen? I had to. Returning from vacation on the plane between Rome and Cairo, I got a seat next to a little girl who was travelling alone. The steward sat her down and made sure she had a plastic bag around her neck in which her ticket and passport could be seen. They brought dinner; we ate in silence, but I realised that the little girl wanted to talk, so I gave her a chance.
PUBLISHED ONJul 2021
“Why do you travel alone? You are a brave girl. How old are you?” I asked.
“What’s your name?”
“Guess! I’ll help you, my name means happiness.”
“No, Farah. What do you do?”
“I am a priest.”
“What’s your name?”
“You help me too.”
“My name is like someone from France, Fran....”
“Francis!” she replied, all excited.
“How good you are!”
“Who was Francis?” she asked.
I started telling her the story of the wolf of Gubbio in a soft voice since everything was silent in the plane and the lights were dimmed. Suddenly, a little boy, maybe six years old, popped up from the front seat and says, tell us the story of Jesus.
“What do you know about Jesus?” I replied.
He began to tell me about Cain and Abel, then Noah, with all his male and female animals. After Noah, I tried to get them back on track and told them about the resurrection of the child of Nain. Then I asked them, how did Jesus die? They looked at me intently.
“Ah yes, on the cross, with nails,” the little boy answered. The little girl looked at him.
“Yes, and then what? Did they bury him?”
The boy answered yes.
“And then, did it all end like that?” I asked. They looked at me.
“No, after three days, the tomb was opened and Jesus came out alive and never died again.” I answered myself.
“No!” the little girl shouted in disbelief.
“Yes. Yes, it’s true.”
“Swear it!” she dared.
“I swear it!” I said, almost jumping out of my seat.
Shaking her little finger under my nose, she reprimanded, “Look, whoever swears a lie ends bad!”
“No, no, I swear it. This is really true. Maybe it’s the only true thing in the world!”