The Risen Lord
by Monsignor Charles M. Mangan
After forty days of intense prayer, fervent penance and sincere charity to the needy, Easter Sunday arrives with a flourish. "He is risen as He said, Alleluia!"
The Son of God and the Son of Mary has conquered the weighty chains of sin and spiritual darkness. Death has been overcome; a reign of peace and joy has been ushered into our world. Jesus Christ has risen from the dead.
And this is why we rejoice: God has kept His promise. He came through in the clutch and delivered. Everlasting life is now possible again because of the Lord's victory over the once foreboding grave.
Nevertheless, anguish still overcomes the hearts of many this Easter. The mother who grieves for her AIDS-infected son, the husband who wonders how he will support his young wife and children now that he has been laid off, the child in Iraq who has known only hopelessness and despair--sorrow permeates the souls of a legion of believers despite Easter lilies, white vestments and newly-lit Paschal candles.
When I was a junior in high school, I heard a homily during a daily Mass in the Chapel of our local Catholic high school that I recall vividly twenty-five years later. The priest remarked: "If Jesus Christ is truly risen from the dead, how can we not be joyful?"
The priest's point is well made. We are compelled to rejoice. Our corresponding attitude must be that of profound gratitude and gladness, given the triumph of Jesus over the tomb. No matter how heavy our crosses, we are to reflect the happiness of the Church during this fifty-day Eastertide.
The authentic joy of Easter is perduring; it does not disappear at the first sight of conflict or pain. Rather, it remains steadfast through thick and thin, realizing that the glory of the Risen Christ dispells the blindness instigated by Satan and the fallen angels.
Even though the disciples "had seen the Risen Lord," they were not free of trials and suffering. Yet, whenever they had to bear their own personal Calvary, the disciples remembered the inimitable promise of their Friend: "I am with you always until the end of the world" (Saint Matthew 28:20). Misunderstandings (even among the disciples themselves), physical hardships and merciless beatings couldn't damper the "resurrection joy" experienced by the followers of Christ or erase the pledge of Jesus to remain with them whatever the situation.
Contemporary disciples of the Messiah take comfort in the abiding presence of Jesus in a world marred with sin. Nothing can diminish what Jesus did nearly two millennia ago. He invites us to die with Him, but He also invites us to live with Him--here on earth through divine grace and someday in Heaven.
When the last Easter egg is discovered, the joy of Easter continues unabated for the disciple of the Savior. The gladness of the Resurrection changes lives. Christ's victory gives hope to the lonely and suffering. Jesus has fulfilled the first promise: to rise from the dead. Now, a second guarantee has been established for His disciples: salvation for those who accept His joy and who seek to walk in His steps.
Pope John Paul II has exclaimed: "We are an Easter people, and 'alleluia' is our hymn." Christ Jesus lives! How can we not be joyful?
http://www.catholic.org , VA
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan - Official, 390 66616-1125
Jesus Christ; Resurrection; Easter Sunday
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