Saturday, April 7, 2012

“That they might have abundant life”

With the solemn reality of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, as Christians we commemorate the principal confession of our faith. We celebrate the fact that although “you killed him by letting sinful men crucify him... God raised him from death, setting him free from its power” (Acts 2,23-24). For if Christ did not rise from the dead our faith is vain, our preaching is vain and our hope is also vain (Cf. 1 Cor 15,17).

This confession of faith is that which connects us and identifies us with the apostles, with the early disciples, with the first century believers and with Christian of all ages and all parts of the earth. This confession of faith is what determined the character and the identity of Christians in the world as men and women of hope. For in the resurrection of Christ life triumphed over death and –for that reason– we know that the final and definitive destiny of man in the Father’s plan is not death, chaos, nothingness, absurdity, or failure, but life… and not just any life, but abundant life (Jn 10,10).

But this confession of faith, in order to be authentic (and not just from our lips) must be born today out of the same vital experience that was born in yesteryear among the first Christians: a transforming experience in their life through which they bore witness as new men and women (Cf. Eph 4,24; Matt 9,17), renewed in their mind (Eph 4,23); that is, with new criteria, with life based on the logic of the gospel and the wisdom of the cross, and not on the world’s logic (Cf. 1 Cor 1,21; Jn 8,23; Jn 15,18-21)… a transforming experience that caused them to proclaim throughout the world that He who was dead is now alive, he rose again and lives today among us.

Such a vital and transforming experience was evident among the early Christians and must be experienced, proven, manifested and preached today in the life of those who –like Christ himself– address God as their Father, (Gal 4,6; Rom 8,14), see themselves as his children and the brothers of all, by fulfilling the Father’s will, his mandate to love.

Today, the same as two thousand years ago, Christians are asked: What have we done with the One who rose from the grave? (Cf. Jn 20,2ff). Where can the world find Jesus Christ, the One who lives forever? This is the reason the confession of faith in the resurrection requires and commits us to present the living Christ in the world through the testimony of our transformed lives, according to the gospel of Jesus Christ. In this way, the presence of the One who rose again becomes a reality in the world today through Christians that bear witness to the life of Christ within them and who cry out with Paul: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2,20).

Society around us today seeks for possibilities and spaces of life in the midst of a “culture of death”. Such a search challenges us as Christians, all men and women who believe in the God of life that is eternal, full and abundant (Cf. Jn 10,10), believers in God who triumphed over injustice and death and offers us endless possibilities of new life.

Resurrection is the meaning of Easter. Paschal is a Hebrew word that means “passage”, transformation, change, conversion.

· Passage from death to life when we love each other (1 Jn 3,14).
· Passage from hate to love.
· Passage from sadness to joy: “A joy that nothing and no one can take from us” (Jn 16,22).
· Passage from selfishness to service and solidarity.
· Passage from egotism to a generous surrender of our life for the gospel (Lk 9,22-25).
· Passage from anger to forgiveness.
· Passage from iniquity to justice.
· Passage from competition to friendship.
· Passage from darkness to light.
· Passage from slavery to the freedom that belongs to the children of God.
· Passage from sin to grace.
· Passage from the old to the new.
· Passage from the condition of a slave to the life of a son.

Finally, if resurrection is abundant life (Cf. Jn 10,10, eternal life (Jn 3,16) and salvation, and if that full life and salvation is synonymous with happiness that every man and woman desires and hopes for, then Christ, his gospel and the entire saving, paschal and Christian reality is integrated in our life and responds to the fundamental question of humanity: the incessant search for happiness.

Christ saves us because he brings us happiness, teaching us to live his very life: the life that belongs to the children of God and the brothers of all, that enables us –in love- to enjoy a more friendly and just society, with justice and solidarity, equity and peace. There is no divorce between faith and life, between Easter and our daily experience, because the resurrection of Christ –and that for which all of us hope in Him- is the happiness that we seek and find in the everyliving One. Happy Easter!

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