Thoughts about Easter after Easter
We are now beyond Easter. It is still the Easter Season, but we are beyond all that goes into the crush of celebrating Holy Week and Easter in a parish. The Church gives us this season of Easter to give us leisure to reflect on the feast we have just celebrated. Easter is too great a mystery to confine to a single week. This is a chance to ask questions and reflect on answers that we did not have time for when everything was so busy.
Jesus’ resurrection is the cornerstone of Christian faith. Starting with the Apostles on the first day, His resurrection has been and will ever be the core of the good news the Church proclaims. On this utterly unique event rests the validity of the Church’s claims and mission. As St. Paul the Apostle put it simply and clearly, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is void of content and your faith is empty, too… If our hopes in Christ are limited to this life only, we are the most pitiable of men” (1 Cor 15:14, 19).
And so I wondered: is it true? It’s the most important question a person can ask: Is Jesus someone who is dead or someone who is alive? And, if Jesus is risen from the dead, then our wildest dreams are not wild enough. Our most extravagant hopes are not extravagant enough. And our deepest joy falls infinitely short of the joy that God holds out for us. But is it true?
I believe in the Resurrection because I have come to know God. And in coming to know God, I have come to know that God is love. And love transcends death. It has to.
I look at the loves of my own life and in my heart I know they are forever. This is not an argument of the head, but an argument of the heart, I know. But the heart is as sure a knower of truth as the head, maybe a surer one. Death cannot be the end of love, my heart says. Death cannot be the end of everything which we have experienced through meaningful and generous and faithful love. It cannot be possible that we love each other only to have our hearts broken in the end by death.
If God is love, and I know He is, and if love defeats death, and I know it does, then Jesus, who incarnated love, who incarnated God, in the world more perfectly than anyone ever had or ever has since, then Jesus must conquer death. He must live, although He surely died and was buried. He must - just as surely - live, risen from the dead.
And, if we love one another in imitation of Him, then we too must be destined for resurrection. Death can no more be the end of the story for us than it was the end of the story for Him. And if that is so, since that is so, then our wildest dreams are not wild enough. Our most extravagant hopes are not extravagant enough. And our deepest joy falls infinitely short of the joy that God holds out for us.
Rev. Msgr. Michael J. Henchal