By: Henri de Longchamp, OP
Recently I saw some children having bright eyes looking at some rabbits in chocolate they expected to receive for Easter.
Brothers and sisters, do we have bright eyes when we say the words “Easter” and “Resurrection”?
First, why do we believe in Resurrection?
Sunday April 9th of the year 30, early in the morning, women hastened to go to the tomb where the body of Jesus had been laid on Friday. Saturday was a holy day for the Jews and activities were limited.
The women went to the tomb and an Angel of the Lord told them the great news: Jesus has been raised from the dead!
At Easter, God kept his promise. He promised that He would send a Savior, that sin would not separate us from God forever.
Even if the history of the Chosen People is a sinful one, God kept his promise.
When it was time, God the Eternal decided to send his only Son to live our human condition.
Born of the Virgin Mary … raised by Joseph … he grew up like a son of Israel … he was circumcised … he prayed and he celebrated like any faithful Jew.
He learned to be a carpenter like Joseph.
But one day he was taken to the desert and, after 40 days, he began his mission as a preacher.
Quickly, he touched the hearts and lives of his fellow believers. Other young adults in their twenties and thirties took him as a model, as their Master and they followed him.
For 3 years, they listened to him … they saw crowds finding meaning in their lives … they saw him heal the sick and raise the dead, signs that the Kingdom of God is near.
They learned to pray like him and with him.
With Jesus, they dared to say to the Almighty God: Our Father.
They trusted Jesus who revealed to them that he and the Lord are One …that his Father becomes the Father of Jesus’ disciples.
Jesus prepared them to go to all countries, all cultures and all religions to announce that God, his Father and our Father, is Love.
God the Eternal wishes to adopt us as his children, his beloved children, when we choose to become the brothers and sisters of Jesus by baptism.
But Jesus’ mission met opposition. For religious authorities, he is a blasphemer in his way of speaking and praying to the Almighty God.
Jesus wants his neighbor to be anyone of good will … regardless of race, country, culture, religion, wealth or poverty, physical, spiritual or mental health. Jesus wants our neighbor to be his neighbor.
For the political authorities, Jesus is dangerous in his way of living as a free man who invites others to live as people liberated by faith in God, who fully reveals himself in the life and the message of his only Son.
He was arrested, condemned by religious leaders and then by Pontius Pilate. He was tortured, crucified and killed on the cross. They quickly buried him because the Jewish Passover was about to begin.
The authorities were able to rub their hands: mission accomplished, we got rid of it!
But that’s forgetting God … the God of Israel … the Creator of heaven and earth.
On Easter morning, God made a new creation: Jesus is Risen from the dead.
Ancient authors and painters represented Jesus resuscitating with, in one hand Adam, and in the other hand Eve, followed by all the saints who were waiting to be able to enter paradise.
Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene and to the other Mary who came to the cemetery – to the Eleven Apostles – to the disciples of Emmaus – and to 500 disciples gathered together.
Our faith in Christ is rooted in God the Eternal who has kept his promise to send us a Savior … who restores the bonds of love between the Creator and us … between us and our neighbor as Jesus teaches us.
Our faith in Christ is rooted on his life … his message … his death … his resurrection … his ascension and the gift of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus Christ the Eternal fulfilled his promise of Salvation.
Our Christian faith is also based on the life and experiences of these men and women who lived with Jesus … who heard him preach … who saw him do miracles … who ate with him … slept with him … danced with him … laughed with him … and cried with him.
Our Christian faith rests on those who were blessed during Christ’ apparitions between Easter and the Ascension.
Our Christian faith rests on the life and the testimony of Christians who accepted to suffer and even to be killed for Jesus Christ … who did not deny their faith … and died with the assurance that death is our birth to eternal life … our life with the God the Eternal.
Our Christian faith rests on the lives and witnesses of all saints, known and unknown.
Our Christian faith is based on the life and experience of all faithful Christians in their personal life … family life … work … social and political lives.
Our Christian faith rests on the strength of the Holy Spirit that the Risen Jesus gives to his Church … and on the strength that each baptized person receives in a sacrament.
Yes, brothers and sisters, we are on the right path having faith in Christ … living our faith … to have clear … joyful … radiant eyes when we believe and live united with Christ.
Jesus Christ is waiting each of us in our own Galilee, where is our daily life and challenges.
No test, no obstacle can take away from us the unique and personal love of God for his Church … of His unique and personal love for each and every one of us… and His love for all those who do not know the one and only living God and whom God wants to reach by the witnesses of our lives.
Brothers and sisters, Christ is Risen, hallelujah! He is really Risen, hallelujah!
Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
you can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
the sky is no longer thick with fumes
but blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Italy
people are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
I read that a hotel in Montreal, another in Vancouver,
are offering free room, others free meals and delivery to hospitals Emergency Care employees.
Today a young woman
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighborhood
so that the elders may have someone to call on.
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting.
All over the world people are looking at their neighbors in a new way.
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
to how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
So we pray and we remember that
yes there is fear
but there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation
but there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying
but there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
but there does not have to be disease of the soul.
Yes there is even death
but there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic,
the birds are singing again,
the sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
and we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
and though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
(Inspired by Br. Richard Hendrick, Ofm. Cap.)