Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter

Easter symbolizes life:  Jesus is alive! 
Because He lives, we also live

And just as the small chick at birth breaks out from its narrow world in the shell into a much bigger world, so too we believe that in the mystery of our own dying we will break out of our own earthly “skin”, so to speak, into a new life.

Think of all that God has done for us through Jesus of Nazareth.  

Jesus was baptized; anointed with the Spirit and went about proclaiming that the Kingdom of God was breaking into our midst.  Eventually Jesus was crucified but then lifted up out of the grave to his heavenly Father so that he could draw us to himself into a new heavenly life.

Yes, Jesus is alive and because He lives, we live.  He has passed from this earthly life through the mystery of death into a new, transformative heavenly reality. And this future is ours as well.

The disciples of Jesus could have said:   How many hopes lie buried.

And yet 40-some hours after those hopes were buried, the Risen Christ appeared to the disciples: Mary Magdalene; the disciples in the upper room; and the disciples on the road to Emmaus.  Yes, it was a bodily resurrection; the earthly and crucified Jesus was the same person as the resurrected Jesus.

Jesus said to the disciples: I live and because I live, we live.

No sooner are we born in the flesh than we are reborn in the spirit.  Water is poured upon us in the rite of baptism, and in these waters the Spirit of God is poured out upon us, and a new life is ours: the life of the triune God.

And as we grow, the bishop anoints our forehead with oil in the sign of the cross—and God empowers us to live the demands of discipleship.  At Eucharist, the Living Christ feeds us with his life to continue our journey.  And in the Rite of Penance we celebrate God’s mercy.  For as Pope Francis says, the Church is a field hospital, there to heal wounds.

Yes, through the sacraments, privileged encounters with God, we experience the living Christ. In the exchange of wedding promises strengthening love between husband and wife.  In the anointing of the sick, Christ makes easier our passage.  All the sacraments are visible signs of God’s providence for us.

At every Funeral Mass we hear:  “For those who believe, life is not taken away, life is merely changed.”

Our Easter faith proclaims loudly and clearly that the eternal life Jesus won for us through his death and resurrection, that divine life bestowed upon us in baptism and nourished in the sacramental life, will not disappear in the mystery of death.

Let every morning, like that first Easter morning, be a morning to start over, beginning again. Who among us is content? Who among us does not know a heart to heal, a relationship to mend, a lost soul to find. Easter proclaims it’s a new day, a new season.

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