Every Easter I have to say the same thing – this is the most important day of the year – it’s spared most of the commercialism of Christmas – but without this day our Christian faith would have no meaning. As St. Paul teaches, ‘if Christ be not raised then we are still in our sins and we of all people are the most to be pitied.’ If Christ be not raised Good Friday, the life of Jesus, the suffering he suffered, the death he died was a waste. St. Paul writing about how Jesus emptied Himself of His divinity and was obedient even to dying on the cross – was also exalted and given a name above every name that can be named so that at the name of Jesus every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord – to the glory of God the Father. Today we celebrate a basic truth of our Christian faith – The Father raised Jesus from the dead and we too have been raised in Him to live a new life for God.
Jesus rose above the hatred and rejection, the degradation and humiliation he endured on Good Friday – He would not be let these things embitter Him or destroy Him. He would rise above them. His first words to the men who denied, betrayed and deserted Him were ‘peace be with you’.
Through the grace and power of His resurrection we can experience our own resurrections when we rise above any resentment, anger, when we rise above any bitterness over past hurts and misunderstandings and get on with trying to live a positive life. We have our own Easters, our own resurrections when by God’s grace we rise above our unwillingness to forgive someone who disappointed, ignored or rejected us and offer such a person Easter peace and forgiveness.
We have our own Easter when we rise above our unwillingness to let people into our lives because of our racism or bigotry – when we rise above stereotyping people and allow ourselves to see the goodness in people of other faiths, cultures or life styles.
We have our own Easter when we rise above our quickness to judge other people and how they live their lives without appreciating their personal struggles and weaknesses.
We have our own Easter when we rise above our own sense of entitlement and come to appreciate how blessed are our lives and develop within ourselves an attitude of gratitude for all that is ours through the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus.
We have our own Easter when rise above our lack of faith in the great mystery we celebrated this past week, that God so loved us God sent His Son into the world and the Son so loved us He gave His life for us. We have our own Easter when we rise above our lack of trust in the truth that God is always with us especially in all our troubled times.
As we continue this Easter Mass, we can pray for ourselves and for each other that the Risen Christ gift all of us with the grace to rise above all those things in our lives that hold us back from opening our lives to the life that is ours through Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection for we celebrate this truth – The Father has raised Jesus from the dead and we too have been raised in Him to live a new life for God.