Today is the day of Easter joy! However, we cannot fully appreciate the greatness of the resurrection of Jesus unless we acknowledge the full reality of his death. Jesus died in darkness and he trusted enough in God to face the darkness, and to wait for the resurrection. The Sacred Scriptures and the early Church seldom said, “Jesus rose from the dead.” What they said was that “God raised Jesus from the dead.” Jesus had to make that leap of faith which we will one day be called upon to make.
On the Hill of Calvary, Jesus entered into the dark kingdom of death, and emerged victorious. He had won his victory; he had conquered the ancient foe. But that victory has to work its way through and become a reality in us, his disciples. His victory was won in our human nature. If the battle had not been fought and won in our human nature, we would be incapable of profiting from his victory, we would still be under the power of death.
The resurrection itself was never in doubt. But the surprise and gift of Easter is that the resurrection is for us too. Jesus has been raised in our flesh and blood. It is our death that has been defeated.
As we move through our life, we become increasingly aware of the reality that the journey is leading us inevitably towards death. Death poses a challenge to our faith for we see beyond death only as through a darkened glass. But on this day we breathe the pure air of eternal life.
The forces of darkness may seem overwhelming. We must remember that the victory is already won, and not live as if death still dominates us. To be a Christian is to be a person of hope because of what happened on the third day. However, Christian hope is not a superficial optimism based on a refusal to look at the facts. Rather, it is a deep trust in God.
Good Friday, day of darkness and death, comes to everyone. So does Holy Saturday, that day of emptiness and sorrow. On such days it can be difficult to believe. But Easter Sunday, day of life and joy, will come as surely as the dawn. Death, the last enemy, has been overcome.
Yes, today is the day of Easter joy! Alleluia is our song! It is a day when God draws us outward to the unknown, the beyond, the infinite, the eternal. Our journey through life is made more confidently and filled with hope because Jesus has gone ahead of us.
May the peace and joy of Easter fill your hearts and minds as we rejoice in the Resurrection of the Lord!
-Father Dennis, April 1, 2018