|Cleveland Prayer Group Website|
Easter is a day of Joy and Hope. Joy, because Christ is raised from death and Hope, because no one dies in one’s sins hereafter. There is a fictitious story of an Archaeologist who dug the Galilean Mount and happened to find out dead bodies of three crucified persons. Of the three bodies, the one in the middle was not decomposed as the other two were. He proclaimed to the whole world that Christ had not resurrected. He was buried when he was in a state of comma. The news spread like wildfire. A gloom descended everywhere. All lost interest in life. The Missionaries who had gone to different countries started coming back. Monasteries and convents were closed. Priests and nuns rejected their cloistered life. A great change was visible everywhere. The world was in the grip of a great tragedy. The Archaeologist now on the deathbed made a startling revelation that what he had written was only a figment of his imagination and felt sad for what he had done. Things started to come back to normalcy. The story is just to show that how Easter is of great importance in the lives of not only of Christians, but also to the entire humanity. The sweat and toil of all of us are only for the Fruits that they bring to us in future. To the people who had lost hopes in life after death, the assurance that sin has lost its power on them and that there is hope for them to live in communion with God, Easter carries the message of Joy and Hope.
People who believe that miracles cannot happen as the world moves according to a fixed order of nature are incapable of enjoying the Joy of Easter. According to them, the day waxes and wanes, the seasons follow each other. Animals obey a fixed order from birth to death. Man too obeys physical laws. However, for those who believe in God, the order of nature itself is fixed by a Will, who can at pleasure innovate upon or reverse it. He who had made life and nature what they are, could have made, and can make them otherwise. The power to work miracles is implied in this power, which had created nature.
Easter is full of Hope as it commemorates the beginning of an undying life. The Resurrection was not an isolated miracle, done and over leaving things as they had been before. The Risen Lord is not like the risen Lazarus who later succumbed to death. Christ rises for eternity. His Risen Body is made up of flesh, bones and all other things pertaining to the perfection of human nature. But it has certain superadded qualities. It cannot become dust. Enthroned in heaven, it is endowed with the beauty and glory of a perpetual order.
This perpetuity of the Life of the Risen Lord is the guarantee of the perpetuity of the Christian Church. Among all forms of society, which bind men together, the Church of Christ is insured against dissolution. When our Lord was born, the civilized world was almost entirely comprised within the Roman Empire. That vast social power might have appeared, as it did appear to the men of our Lord’s days, destined to last forever. Since then, the Roman Empire has completely vanished. Other kingdoms and dynasties have risen up and have in turn gone their way. Nor is there warrant that any one of the states or forms of civil government, which exist at present, will always last. There are people who tell us that the Kingdom of Christ is no exception to the rule. Nevertheless, we know that they are wrong; that whatever may happen, one thing is impossible; the complete effacement of the Church of Jesus Christ. The reason for our confidence is that, we the Christians know that the Church, although having likeness to civil societies of men in her outward form, is unlike them inwardly and really. She sends her roots far and deep into the world invisible. She draws strength from sources, which cannot be tested by our political or social experience. She is endowed with the Presence of Christ’s own undying life. “Lo, I am with you, even unto the end of world.”
At the time of His birth, the Angels wished peace for all. He assured the people around Him that He would be with them until the end of the world. He gave peace to His disciples as He rose from the tomb. He gave eternal peace to the entire universe. Alas! What was the kind of peace that He Himself had? The Gospels do not tell us that he ever enjoyed peace, as we understand the term. We say, life is peaceful, when it is free from problems and issues, when things take shape as we wish, when we have everything to enjoy the life. For Him, peace was a state in which He could establish communion with His Father in Heaven, in the midst of all the miseries and woes that the earthly life had provided Him. He gives this peace to us. The world, we now live in, is torn by conflicts. The peace that Jesus gives us is the only remedy i.e., when the humanity turns to God.
Easter exhorts us to persevere in the life of godliness. Christ risen from death, who dies no more is the model of our new life. I do not mean that absolute sinlessness is attainable by any Christian. At least faithfulness in our intentions; avoidance of known sources of danger; escape from presumptuous sins: these things are possible. In addition, they are necessary, as we have to persistently set our aims on things above. Though the Church has received the Charter of perpetuity from the King of kings that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against” it, it is the duty of the individual to continue to strive after perfection. We may again doubt, as weak as we are, how we can be true to His example. The answer is “ if the spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He that raised from the dead shall likewise quicken your mortal bodies, by His Spirit that dwells in you.” The Risen Christ in us is “the hope and glory.” God gives us His grace, not to withdraw it, but to continue it to us. “If any man loves me, my Father will love him and we will come unto him and make our abode with him.” “He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood dwells in me and I in him”. “No man”, says our Lord “to pluck them out of my Father’s hand”. “Who” asks St. Paul “shall separate us from the love of Christ”. God desires our salvation and He gives us the necessary grace. However, it is for us to decide whether we will respond to His bounty.
May the Divine Peace of Easter fill our hearts with Joy and Hope.
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