On Ash Wednesday, Catholic men and women initiate a time of preparation for the celebration of the most important confession of faith and Christian rejoicing: EASTER, celebrating the RESURRECTION of JESUS CHRIST.
For Christians, since the earliest confession of faith in Jesus Christ, Easter has two fundamental meanings: NEW LIFE and ABUNDANT LIFE.
Following the death of Jesus, the early disciples experienced a transformation in their lives: although they were the same people, they were different. Many texts from the Gospels and the entire New Testament show us how TRANSFORMATION and NEW LIFE became the experience that enabled the early Christians to confess the crucified One as the LIVING ONE of all time. For example, they were no longer afraid, but valiantly preached the gospel openly around the world; they no longer felt like servants, but sons; they experienced a renewal of their minds, the way they viewed God (now as Father) and others (as brothers and sisters); they no longer felt stuck in their traditions (bound to the legal and cultural categories of the Old Testament); they were RENEWED.
Such TRANSFORMATION and NEW LIFE implies a life that is full, happy, eternal. Just as it is expressed on the lips of Jesus himself as a synthesis of his mission: “I have come that you might have LIFE and have it more ABUNDANTLY” (Jn 10,10).
These two basic aspects in the principal confession of the Christian creed contain an enormous and hope-filled program of life for every man and woman of good will and for the society and the world that we are committed to build.
Therefore, all of us must assume the daily task of becoming better human beings (“metanoia” = “conversion” as it is called in Christian theology), the task of being transformed into better citizens, fulfilling in the most practical way our professional and personal roles. We urgently need fathers and mothers who fulfill their responsibilities to the best of their ability; the same is true for students, athletes, artists, physicians, professionals in every area of knowledge, as well as politicians, legislators, business leaders, those in the armed forces, and leaders in all the social vocations. Better human beings will provide and build —in consequence— social structures that are more consonant with our better dreams and longings…[highest aspirations?]
Any diagnostic that is made today —however superficial— of our social, cultural, economic and political structures will reveal the need for change in the heart of every human being, of their principles, values, priorities, perspectives and their way of seeing others and the whole world. In the same way, a constant in social studies is the need to build a society that is more equitable, just, united, pacific, fraternal; that is to say, with lower levels of hunger, inequity, misery, violence and a thousand kinds of death.
This is where we see the true value of the central message that is transmitted to all men and women of good will in the Christian celebration of Easter through the confession of faith in the One who was crucified and rose again. Therefore, Easter is the celebration and the “step” (the meaning of the Hebrew word for Passover) from a life that is not abundant to a life that is fulfilled, from the routine of a life anchored to the past to transformed lives and social structures, renewed and full, offering and promoting abundant life to others.
May the Christian celebration of Easter be the celebration of our daily TRANSFORMATION into better men and women so that we might have social spaces full of LIFE.