Easter Sunday, April 17
May Each Step We Take in Our Journey of Faith Guide Us to the Wonder of the Resurrection, Reminding Us Always of the Hope Which Is Ours, A True Wonder Which Is Eternal!
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad” – the antiphon we find repeated in our Responsorial Psalm today.
What a wondrous event this celebration of Easter is for each of us! It is a celebration of promises and prophesies fulfilled! It is a celebration which fills each of us with hope, a hope far grander than anything this life on this side of the eternal could ever offer!
This is a time of year during which we can begin to look at our own mortality and know, with confidence, that this is not all there is – that there is something so much grander, something infinitely more wonderful than what we have experienced in our lives thus far!
Saint Paul tells us in his First Letter to the Corinthians, “…eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him.”
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ tells us that death is not the end, for His Resurrection has destroyed death and has given each one of us the hope of eternal life – a life of immortality to be shared with our Lord Himself!
And Paul continues to tell us “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead came also through a human being. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life.”
And yet, in our day to day lives, it is so easy for each of to become overwhelmed by family responsibilities and relationships, financial difficulties, stresses which reality seems to weigh-down upon us – stresses which tend to take away that peace with which God wishes to fill our minds, hearts and souls.
Many of us remember the story of the two disciples who were traveling to Emmaus on the Sunday after the Crucifixion, and Jesus joined them in their travels, but, as Scripture tells us, “…their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.”
The Scriptures continue to give us a glimpse of what it was like even for the Apostles, for they were hiding out of fear of being arrested, out of fear of being persecuted themselves. Here, we have individuals who walked, ate and slept with Jesus, and listened to Him preach words of hope, love, mercy, forgiveness, inner peace and faith – and yet, they themselves were filled with a sense of hopelessness and despair!
How easy it is, then, for any of us who have never seen Jesus, who have never heard Him physically speaking words of encouragement to us, to be filled with confusion, even despair over events which affect or impact our lives in a way which tests our faith – in a way which fills us with a certain loss of hope – in a way which fills our hearts with an unbearable sadness.
And for those of us who are old enough and have faced the uncertainties of life, which one of us has not experienced, in some fashion, the sadness of losing a loved one, the loss of a loving relationship which once filled us with happiness, or the anxiety of a child becoming suddenly ill, or the despair over losing a job – or worrying about how we are going to meet all the financial responsibilities which seem to weigh-down upon us?
Those of us who are of age know the realities which confront us each and every day of our lives. And for those who are without faith, for those who are without hope, life can, at times, seem like a tiresome burden – responsibilities to be met, bills to be paid, lives to be lived – all so that they can enjoy some modicum of happiness and a sense of personal fulfillment.
And yet, it is a happiness which has no real depth, a sense of fulfillment which cannot be sustained – if there is no lasting and enduring hope within themselves.
Today, however, we are reminded that hopelessness and despair have no power over us! For when we open our hearts to what the Easter message is truly all about, we come to realize and believe that God had never forgotten us, and He will never forsake us. He is not a God who is unfamiliar with the human condition – a condition in which we experience suffering and sadness and feeling empty and alone at times.
Jesus Himself endured our human condition, including the agonizing suffering of feeling alone on the Cross until He finally embraced death – all for the sole purpose of reconciling each one of us to His Father – each and every one of us from the beginning of Adam to the present to all those yet to be born up to the end of time!
Our Lord underwent His excruciating suffering out of the profoundness of the infinite and unfathomable Love which He holds for each and every one of us, as He once explained, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
The Easter message IS one of hope! Hope is that theological virtue by which we desire the Kingdom of Heaven and eternal life as our eternal and ultimate happiness, placing all our trust in the promises of Christ – relying not on our own strength, but on the help given to us through the Holy Spirit, who is God’s Gift to us – a Gift of Love to each one of us, His beloved.
It is God’s Spirit who teaches us to invoke God’s help in the Name that is above every other name, Jesus Christ, who is our Life, our Light, our Resurrection, our most intimate Friend and Brother – for it is His Name alone wherein we find our true Way and our only real Hope!
And what a wonderful Hope Jesus is for each of us! He is a God who, in spite of ourselves and each of our shortcomings, emptied Himself for each one of us out of Divine Love – a God who never withholds Mercy from a truly contrite and humbled soul, a God who only desires the best for us and who will always fulfill His promises, a God who continuously invites us to be united with Him in this life, so that we may be forever united with Him in the next.
May each step we take in our journey of faith truly guide both you and me to the wonder of the Resurrection – a Resurrection which reminds us always of the hope which is ours, a true wonder which is eternal!
Even in the midst of their confusion and incredulity, there was still a joy which the first disciples felt when learning the wondrous news of His Resurrection, and especially after seeing Him for the first time after His death on the Cross. Let us today and everyday share in their rejoicing as we recall all that Jesus Christ has done for each of us, and let us feel the hope which lies behind the words as we repeat what the angel at the tomb had said –
“He is risen.” Alleluia!
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad.” (Psalm 118:24)
- “Then the angel said to the women in reply, ‘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.’” (Matthew 28:5-6b)
- “We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)
- “…eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9b)
- (Luke 9:22)
- “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead came also through a human being. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life.” (1 Corinthians 15:20-22)
- “…the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence.” (2 Corinthians 4:14)
- “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.” (Romans 6:4-5)
- “…God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)
Prayer for the Day
“God our Father, Creator of all,
today is the day of Easter joy!
“This is the morning on which the Lord appeared
to men who had begun to lose hope
and opened their eyes to what the Scriptures foretold:
that first He must die, and then He would rise
and ascend into His Father’s Glorious Presence.
“May the Risen Lordcf. Alternative Prayer for Easter Sunday (Roman Breviary)
breathe on our minds and open our eyes,
that we may know Him in the breaking of bread,
and follow Him in His Risen Life.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”