Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Hope of Life

Two thousand years ago, the first Christians, a handful of men and women who had followed and accompanied Jesus of Nazareth during his public ministry, confessed excitedly that the Crucified One, “the one you killed by hanging him on a cross”, had changed their lives. He had delivered them from their former way of life and transformed them into new men and women, with a new mentality, a new way of life, of seeing, of being and of working in the world.

They confessed a change of life out of which they believed, confessed, proclaimed and celebrated that Jesus is alive, that Christ has risen, that the final word of God the Father concerning the life of his Son is not death but life. They confessed that the resurrection of Christ means the triumph of life over death, of good over every manifestation and experience of evil in the world. Jesus’ Resurrection opened to every man and woman of good will a new horizon, a possibility of hope, even where there is no hope, an opportunity for life over every kind of failure, evil, and death.

Transformed by the death of the One they now proclaimed as alive, precisely through the transformation of their lives, the first Christians launched into the world to share and preach with deeds and words the Good News of the Resurrection. They placed in writing their confessions of faith, together with historical data that occured in their small believing communities, fraternal and Eucharistic.

All of this means that the Resurrection is, rather than simply a foundational doctrine of the Christian religion, an experience of new life, transformed life, abundant life, life that is opposed to any manifestation of evil, sin or death. The Resurrection that we confess and celebrate is a conviction that sustains and is manifest in a new life style through which Christians commit themselves to the construction of a better world, that is to say, more divine in its profound humanity.

Through the Resurrection and against every manifestation of evil, every inhuman and dehumanizing expression, every aggression against humanity, and all that affronts the image and likeness of God in his creatures, every individual Christian and all of Christianity together rises up to protest. We propose instead the possibility of a world that is more equitable, more just, more united, more livable, more fraternal, more humane. We propose a world with hope in the life whose foundation is in God, who reveals himself as the God of abundant life, in and through the Resurrection of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Resurrection, then, is a confession of faith. It is a celebration. It is the supreme liturgical feast. But it is, above all, the personal and ecclesial commitment of every Christian to be daily in and for the world, in the space/time of hope that finds itself in the midst of desperation. It is a sign of joy in the midst of sadness, a space for mercy in the midst of so many forms of selfishness, division and violence. It provides for an opportunity for peace in the midst of war, pain and death. This is the evangelizing task of the Church. In this is found the Church’s reason for being and existing. This constitutes the Christian community’s identity and their mission in the world.

Never more opportune, never more timely, but never more committed is the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ—and of ourselves with Him and in Him—in a world in crisis, in a society pressured by new men, weak structures, novel philosophies, all in need of transformation. Never more than today do we need to live and share all that it means to confess that Christ is alive! Thus, the Easter celebration is a song of hope, but above all, it is a challenge to the evangelizing task of the Church in the world. To confess and celebrate the Resurrection reminds us as Catholics of the everlasting commitment to be in the world as islands of consolation, mercy, forgiveness, hope, and life…in the midst of so many inhuman experiences, so many forms of violence, indignity, dehumanization, corruption, and death.

Pascua is a Hebrew word that means “passing.” We have come to understand this word to mean “passing” through the Red Sea to freedom, “passing” from death to life, from sin to grace, from life without Christ to life in Him, from hatred to love, from indifference to united commitment, from a world without God to a world where, in the power of the Resurrection, humankind is enabled to strive toward its grand potential as God originally intended.

May this year’s “pascua” or Easter celebration mean the renewal of our principal Christian commitment in a personal and ecclesial way: to be for a world in crisis the signs of new and abundant life that God offers in Christ. Happy Easter!. For, as the apostle Paul says: “If Christ was not raised from the dead, our faith is vain and our preaching is also vain”.

1 comment:

Brenda said...

Beautiful thoughts! Received this from a friend, Dcn. Francisco Cales. I would like to quote it in a little blog that I write if you don't mind. You have certainly captured the resurrection and what our faith is all about. Thank you!