Our Lenten journey is over, and we have faithfully observed the Sacred Passion of our Lord. Tonight, we celebrate the culmination of the Paschal Mystery in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
No matter what effort we put forth during this Lenten Season, we surely learned a few things about our self as well as about Jesus. Every Lent we come face to face with our shortcomings, most especially with those realities that prevent us from growing in holiness, and keep us from relying more upon Jesus than self. We all have our inner demons, those moments of darkness. These generally can be summed up as our unwillingness to die completely to self, a lack of love, the need to be more grateful to God for every aspect of life, even the crosses he gives to teach us about his love and that are always in some way an invitation to greater love in our own lives.
More than likely during our Lenten journey we tripped across that one thing, or those few things that we have absolutely no capacity to change on our own terms or by our own resolve. These more than likely are the areas of each of our individual lives where we will encounter the Risen Christ when that stone will be rolled away and the Light of the Resurrection will flood the darkest corner of our hearts.
The Resurrection of Jesus teaches us that the Light of Christ can shine into the most remote places of our life, those places known only to you and God, as he longs to bring his life to each member of the human family. We believe in the possibilities of such conversion. St. Paul teaches in the Letter to the Romans: “For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection.” (Romans 6:5)
The women in the Gospel (Mark 16:1-7) had such a ‘union’, such a relationship with Jesus. After his death and burial, they went to the tomb with spices to anoint the body, only to discover the stone rolled away and a messenger who tells them: “He has been raised; he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him. But go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.’”
Not even death could contain the disfigured body of Jesus, nor could the Evil One quench or conquer the infinite, unconditional love of God in the person of Jesus Christ.
Just as the Risen Jesus went ahead of the disciples to Galilee, he goes before us. Therefore, we walk not only in the Light of the Risen Lord, but we go forward each day with hope and confidence. No matter how dark life can get, no matter how alone we may feel, we are not alone. Neither our weakness nor the darkness defines us or our possibilities. Rather, our life, our purpose and our fullest potential is found in relationship with and to the Risen Jesus.
The Risen Body of Jesus carries the marks of his Passion. Surely, since Jesus took our sins with him to the cross, to conquer sin once and for all, the Risen Jesus carries our wounds with him! This tells us that the healing in his wounds is to make us whole. In Christ, in his wounds, we find our healing; our wholeness.
This is what it means when St. Paul (6: 6, 8, 11) says: “We know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer live in slavery to sin. … If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. … you too must think of yourselves as … living for God in Christ Jesus.”
As important as it is for us to find the meaning of the Resurrection for our lives here and now, for us to allow the power of the Risen Lord to empower our finding and living in the Kingdom of God in this world, it is even more important that we believe in the promise the Resurrection holds for us and our own resurrection from the dead into eternal life.
My friends, the Resurrection is for Life; a new and everlasting life with God. Let us follow the example of the women in the Gospel who believed in the Good News: “He has been raised; he is not here. He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.”
Happy Easter! Alleluia! Alleluia!