April 23, 2017
Alleluia, He is risen! Happy Easter season to all of our parishioners, friends, and everyone who is reading this.
Easter, the day we celebrate our Lord’s resurrection, is the pinnacle of our liturgical year. Every celebration we have either leads up to Easter, or draws from it. This is rightly so, as it is the resurrection that loudly and boldly proclaims that Jesus truly is the Son of God, our Lord and our Savior. While pondering the meaning of Easter Sunday this year, my thoughts focused in on the gift of hope.
In St. Paul’s well known passage from first Corinthians, chapter 13, he talks of Love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, etc.” He finishes this passage on love by writing “So faith, hope, love remain, these three;” These three remain, they have permanence. They are the building blocks of all we have and believe.
If we look at these three, they also have been given to us by Christ. While He walked this earth teaching and preaching, he gave us our faith. He taught us about the kingdom of God, he gave us the golden rule, teaching us to love one another. He showed us how to be a servant king. By dying for us on the cross, he gave us the ultimate example of love. There is no greater love than this, then to lay one’s life down for a friend. As John writes, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son.” But then we behold the resurrection. By rising from the dead, he gave us infinite hope.
In our worldly view we have a tendency to see the events of this world as if they are “bookended” by beginnings and endings. This is normal to the human condition and the voices of the world reinforce this. For every beginning, there is an ending. For every hello, a goodbye. For every birth, there is a death. For every project that starts or job that begins, there is a finish or retirement. But God, by raising Christ from the dead, turned this view on its head, shifting everything around. With the resurrection, for every ending, there is a new beginning. For every goodbye, a new hello. For every death, a rebirth to new life. For every project that finishes or door that closes, a new opportunity arrives. Best of all, there is no final ending, there is only a new beginning when we are welcomed into eternal life with Christ. This is a source of hope that cannot be extinguished. Once we can see the world as Christ views it, that every ending is followed by a new beginning, we can’t help but to be joyful and hopeful. We have to remind ourselves that we often have these “bookends” on our life in the wrong order. The endings are followed by beginnings, not the other way around.
This hope is also tied to the infinite mercy that God shows us. The two are intertwined and cannot be separated. His death and resurrection brings us redemption and hope. For every time that we sin, we have the opportunity for forgiveness. Every time we fail and fall down, Christ is there to help us get back up. Every time that we, like the prodigal son, disown our Father and squander our inheritance, he is waiting to run to us and greet us with open arms when we return to him. The hope of new beginnings brings us redemption, and the knowledge of our ability to have redemption brings us more hope. They go hand in hand. Thoughts such as these, the true knowledge of redemption and hope, can bring us great joy.
So, now I am back to where I began. With great hope and joy I say, “Alleluia, He is risen!” The Easter Season is a glorious and wonderful season. Let us all embrace it, and take the hope and love that we receive from Christ’s resurrection out into the world so that we can be an example that brings the message of faith to all that we meet.
Yours in Christ,