May the peace that the Risen Lord brought us by His death and resurrection abide in your hearts and your homes this Easter Season! No matter where you think your life is or is going, may you feel hope and joy because Our Lord has conquered sin and death! The sufferings of this world will pass away but our eternal reward in heaven will never pass away. Through His rising, Jesus has swung open the doors of paradise, and we have the certain hope of partaking in the heavenly banquet because of our fidelity to Him. During this Lenten season, especially during the Sacred Triduum, I have prayed for all of you. I shall also remember you in my Easter Masses!
A few days ago the great actor, Robert Redford, was being interviewed on TV regarding a movie he had just made. In that movie he plays the part of a scientist who has discovered proof of the next world. During the course of the interview, Matt Lauer posed him a pointed question: “Do you believe in after-life?” If I remember right, he said, “Possibly!” It was not a firm answer. His reply kept me thinking. A belief that I take for granted is certainly not a given in some people’s lives. I have often wondered, “How would our life be if we did not believe in eternal life?”
Without belief in the resurrection, many aspects of our present life will not make any sense. Life is not fair. Good people do not always win. The innocent suffer while the wicked prosper. How can a loving God allow that to happen? Often I imagine God to be like a kindergarten teacher who allows the children to mess up the classroom and themselves with paint and dirt. He smiles and says to Himself, “I will clean up this mess at the end of the school day.” In the same way, God will bring about justice at the end of time. The just and the unjust will receive their due reward or punishment.
Without belief in after-life, we have no hope. I remember talking to an elderly father who had to bury two adult children many years ago. As we were preparing for the second funeral, he said to me: “Father, how could we face such tragedies, if we did not have faith?” Faith alone gives us hope. Without hope, we will be totally broken. In the face of tremendous loss and tragedy, people of faith stand tall and strong. I am convinced that some of our contemporaries have no resources to deal with the pain and sadness in their lives because they lack faith in God and in heaven.
When we truly believe in “the resurrection of the body and life everlasting” as we say in the Creed, we live our lives with equanimity. Life’s setbacks do not crush us. With Paul we say that the sufferings of this world do not compare with the joys that the Lord has prepared for us. We believe in the truth of the words of St John Bosco: “A piece of paradise will set everything right.”
Worldly successes do not inflate our egos. Worldly wealth and power do not puff us up. We know that our true reward is in heaven. It seems that in the Middle Ages when Popes were kings, on the walls of their residence these words were inscribed: “Sic transit gloria mundi.” It means, “Thus passes the glory of this world.” A couple of days ago we should have remembered the twelfth anniversary of the passing of St Pope John Paul II. When he died, millions mourned for him. This year hardly anyone noticed. His heavenly crown will never fade away because it is awarded him by the Lord. Human acclaim vanishes.
The feast of Easter challenges us to turn our gaze upward, to dwell on realities that endure. This world passes. We are on this earth only for a while. We are merely pilgrims and our destination is in heaven. We are grateful to the Risen Lord because by His resurrection, He has given us the reason to hope.
Here are some relevant words from the Easter homily of an ancient author:
Thus the passion of the Savior is salvation for mankind. This was why He willed to die for us, that we should believe in Him, and live forever. He willed to become for a time what we are, so that we should receive the promise of His eternity and live with Him forever.
This is the feast of the year for which we long, the beginnings of life-giving realities. Here is given us the grace of the heavenly mysteries, the gift of the Pasch.
Let us rejoice and celebrate! If we believe in the resurrection of the Son of God, we must bear witness to Him by our joy and our hope. A true Christian cannot get discouraged. Through our hope and our joy, may our brothers and sisters come to realize that our God is not dead! He lives!
Born in India to deeply-committed Catholic parents, Fr Britto is one of seven children. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1981.
After he completed his priestly formation and his early education in India, he came to the US for his graduate degree in Journalism at...Read more...