Easter Sunday: The Resurrection of Hope

 

            It is finished.  His passion is over.

 

            Almighty and Eternal God, on the edge of sadness when all seemed lost, You restored to us the Savior we thought defeated and conquered.  Help us, we beg you, to empty ourselves of self concern that we might see your hand in every failure and your victory in every defeat.

 

            We will always remember the Passion, but we are not people of suffering, and torture and death.  We are people of life and of hope.  Jesus Christ has risen from the dead.

 

            On October 22, 1978,  Pope John Paul II began his pontifical ministry with these words: “Be not afraid.  Be not afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power.”  The world, he reflected, was afraid of itself and its future.  To all those who were afraid, to all those who were caught up in the great loneliness of the modern world, the Holy Father said, “I beg you, let Christ speak to you.  He alone has the words of life, yes, eternal life.”

 

            We celebrate Easter this year full of fear for the future.  Our young people are dying in a war in a distant part of the world.  Sadly, more will probably die there.  We Americans are engaged in a war with terrorists who are looking for opportunities to kill us.  Within our country morality is presented as an option.  A higher percentage of Americans are suffering from sexually transmitted diseases than ever before. The porn industry is dominating cyberspace.  The tupper-ware model of sales through neighborhood parties has moved from plastic containers to plastic like faces to that which, St. Paul says, should not be mentioned among us. And then there is the economy.

 

            It is no wonder that we also have reason to fear for the future. 

 

            We come to Church this Easter full of fear, but seeking hope.  Hope is here.  Jesus Christ has risen from the dead.  All is not lost.  All is won.  He has won.  We have won.  Death has been conquered.  The new world has begun. United with Christ, nothing can destroy us.  The worst pains of life cannot rob us of the hope of Christ's life.

 

            The celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord is the celebration of our hope, our joy, our sharing in the New Life of Christ.

 

            Almighty and Eternal God, on the edge of sadness when all seemed lost, You restored to us the Savior we thought defeated and conquered.  Help us, we beg you, to empty ourselves of self concern that we might see your hand in every failure and your victory in every defeat.

 

            Perhaps we should not be so concerned over all the negatives of the world and be more concerned over the one overwhelming positive which we celebrate today. Jesus Christ is Risen from the dead. 

 

            Jesus Christ is Risen from the dead, and so are we! The first Christian reading of the Easter season is from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans.  It proclaims our hope. “Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life. For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection.”

 

            At our baptism we accepted the New Life of Christ.  Our washing was itself a symbol of dying to a dead world and rising to a new life.  We took upon ourselves the commitment to live this new life.  We took upon ourselves the responsibility to spread this new life.  We took upon ourselves the obligation to allow Christ to use us to transform the world.

 

            Jesus has called us out of this darkness and death and given us each the ability to make his presence real for others.  If we just allow God to work through us, if we just strive to be that unique reflection of his love he created each of us to be, then we will come out of the tomb with Him and live eternally. Our lives have meaning, and purpose and beauty when they are united to His Life.

 

            The deaths in Afghanistan & Iraq, the dissipation of our society, the negatives of our world, all tell us that we must fight for the kingdom of God.  We must fight to allow the New Life of Jesus Christ to destroy the powers of death within each of us as well as within our society.   We must fight for the Lord.

 

            The tomb is empty, Mary.  But the world is full.  The Savior Lives.  May His Life change the world.  May we let His Life change the world.

 

            “Do not be afraid,” John Paul II asserted.  There is great reason to hope.  Jesus Christ, our hope, has risen from the dead. 

 

            Alleluia.