Easter and Eternal Life

Time seems to go faster every year. Someone pointed out that on June 21, daylight begins decreasing again! Easter season is already drawing to a close. Here are some parting words for it that may encourage people, in particular anyone who is undergoing a hardship now or suffering the loss of a loved one.

Life in Christ calls us to walk daily in newness of life, a life no longer enslaved to sin. Through his Resurrection, Jesus won for us new life and new hope; we no longer need to fear suffering and death. Belief in the Resurrection moves us from a limited, earthbound outlook to a radically different, eternity-oriented view of life. We can see the suffering that marks segments of our journey as part of the Paschal Mystery: “For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

A band of frightened disciples experienced the risen Christ and were radically changed. Christ—raised and glorified—had broken the power of death. The disciples could share his power; through Baptism they would one day share eternal life with him. So can we and our loved ones. The deepest of all desires is the desire of life, and Jesus fulfills this desire by making it possible for us to live forever. Someday we will be reunited with our family members and friends who have passed away.

The same risen Jesus is the companion of every Christian. He gives each one of us the courage to accept the Christian mission. Jesus enables Christians to risk their lives, jobs, and reputations for his kingdom of peace and justice. Today some Christians practice their faith where it is forbidden. They bring the Gospel to those who have nothing. Recently I learned of a man who spreads the Good News in prison and a priest who works with lepers in Haiti. Contemplatives embrace a life of prayer and penance that makes no sense to this world but brings strength and hope to many.

Christians everywhere make the risen Christ visible. They endure suffering patiently be it a painful, chronic illness or persecution at work. They speak out against injustice and work for peace. They give themselves to thankless tasks like caring for an elderly parent or disabled child. They speak the truth in love, daring to point a wayward person in the right direction. These faith-filled Christians are signs of hope. Through their witness, others see how powerful Jesus is and are drawn to entrust their lives to him.

At each Eucharist we celebrate the dying and rising of Jesus. During the Easter season we remember this great mystery in a special way. At the Easter Vigil, the priest prayed (and maybe sang) the Easter Proclamation, a message worth pondering. Here is part of it:

This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death and rose triumphant from the grave.

What good would life have been to us had Christ not come as our Redeemer?

Father, how wonderful your care for us! How boundless your merciful love!

The power of this holy night dispels all evil washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy; it casts out hatred, brings us peace, and humbles earthly pride.

In what ways do you communicate belief in the Resurrection?




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