Some days back we started the Lenten journey to culminate into the joy of the celebration of the greatest feast in Christendom; the resurrection of our lord and Savior Jesus Christ who told the Jews in John 2: 19 “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up”. This statement sounded like the boast of a vain man but when our Lord Jesus Christ breathed his last in Matthew 27:50-53 “Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, and gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs”, “they went into the holy city and appeared to many people”, this confirmed the first part of his statement “Destroy this temple” while Easter calumniates the final promise “In three days I will raise it up”. This is what the Christian faith celebrates the fulfillment of a promise.
The testimony of our faith as Christians would have been in vain had Christ not resurrected as he promised as St. Paul told the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 15:17 “If Christ has not been raised your faith is futile” it was through his death that the whole of mankind was saved from been dominated by sin and this destroyed the hold death had on us.
Christian’s believes that death has no power over him or her again by the resurrection of Christ from death, his resurrection gives us the promise of new life, both in this world and the next. It is this eternal life that god promised in John 3:16-17 “For god so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life”. For God did not send the son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him that is what Christians celebrate at Easter.
For Catholics, Easter Sunday comes at the end of 40 days of prayer, fasting, and alms-giving known as lent, when we are reminded we are “dust” and what we will end up being “dust”. Through spiritual struggle and self-denial, we are supposed to have prepared ourselves to die spiritually with Christ on Good Friday, the day of his crucifixion, so that we can rise again with him in new life on Easter.
Easter is a time of joy and happiness for all; this is truly so because we are celebrating the paschal triumph of our lord and savior, Jesus Christ. The incarnate love of God, who had overcame death, pain and sin. A Christian with this victory must no longer walk in the darkness of a life separated from God. No longer must our living be without hope of a better future. We must not allow darkness that arises from, pride, egoism and evil overtake us because Christ, the light of the world, has destroyed the slavery, which stems from darkness and s given us new life. The new life of our risen Christ is a life where the crosses, the pain and the sufferings acquire a special meaning of victory no matter the circumstances.
Prior to the triumph of Jesus Christ on Easter the cross was interpreted as consisting of pains of life due to punishment or scorn from God. This belief has been replaced now with the light of Christ which demonstrates to us how the crosses in these life, and the anguish and pains that these crosses bring, have a salvitic value in our everyday challenges. The Easter resurrection the powerful light of the risen Christ focuses on the cross as a sign of victory and not a curse and so we now see in the cross a path of new life and not just a path towards pain and death.
To the Christian the mystery of Easter cannot divorce the cross from the empty tomb for the angel said to them, “do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; he is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid him”. Mark 16:6. Though this fact has been rejected by many but who by this reject Jesus, the love of all loves. They rejection of his message of love and his works of love culminated in his crucifixion on Good Friday between two thieves. They thought they had accomplished their evil mission of doing away with this “messenger of love” they gave his “lifeless” corpse to his relatives who placed it in a cold dark tomb sealed in the front by a stone and went sorrowfully away forgetting in His promise of resurrection on the third day. Those who rejected his message forgot that divine love cannot be killed, or done away with, forever, this is understood today by those who believe in him that love lives forever! It is not something or just a feeling that comes and goes, but that love is someone! Love is a person! Love is God incarnate! Love is Jesus Christ, the light of the world and he lives forever! By his resurrection from the dead as he promised.
Jesus Christ is the light that have overcome darkness and given us new life, a new life that new converts begin to live by being reborn in the living waters of baptism during the Easter vigil and those already baptised renew by the renewal of our baptismal promises at Easter. Christ is the new life for all baptized because Jesus rose from the dead for all without exception including those who killed him.
Despite the pain, distress, hunger, wars, disasters, economic woes, political instability, moral decadence and death that afflict us we should not lose focus in the light and victory of his resurrection let his sacrificial love give us victory for after pain and death as seen in his crucifixion journey came the light, love and joy of his resurrection. This is what we should celebrate. .
Despite the victory won by Christ for me, I am most time like the women who went looking for Jesus in the tomb by my doubts and actions for all I do is focus on those baggage’s “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘he has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ now I have told you.”
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” Matthew 28:1-10
When I started my Lenten journey I was carrying so many heavy baggage’s of sin, doubt and fear that I felt God had forsaken me and would not work with me to the actualization of my petitions, I forgot that on his death on the cross he said “It is finished” John 19:30, thus that all those doubts, fear and sin have been taken from him and nailed to his cross and it was not mine to carry again but I did was to focus on them and not on Him. During the Lenten journey of 40 days of prayer, fasting, and alms-giving I got to know that I should focus on Christ and not on myself, sin, worries doubts and fears and when I was able to do this the meaning of his word “It is finished” John 19:30 became real, that is when this year’s Easter made meaning for me in a long while. This could only be achieved by the grace of God.
The women forgot that he said he will rise again and thus went looking for him where they thought they will find him forgetting that He His one that cannot be limited by a tomb and enclosed place like I have always thought through my thinking of focusing on the doubts, fear and sin rather than focus on Him to be able to find answers I forgot that He His a merciful God, though Judas did not see this but allowed his pride to destroy him unlike peter who sought Him after the women told him of Christ resurrection.
We most times allow sin, fear and doubt to hold us back from receiving the grace and the victory his resurrection won for us and this I was not going to allow to happen to me again this Easter hence like the women I clasped my life on his feet and with prayer, confession and reconciliation I would make the final journey of receiving eternal life which is his promise “for God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him. John 3:16-17.
Easter to me is like the words of this famous people as to what Easter should be to the world “The joyful news that he is risen does not change the contemporary world. Still before us lie work, discipline, sacrifice. But the fact of Easter gives us the spiritual power to do the work, accept the discipline, and make the sacrifice. Henry Knox Sherrill.
Easter tells us that life is to be interpreted not simply in terms of things but in terms of ideals. Charles M. Crowe
Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there. Clarence W. Hall
These is what Easter means to me too for the journey is far from finished but have just begun and all I need is the grace of God to have victory over my doubts, fears, sin and anxiety among my many weakness. The road to eternal life is not rosy but must be fought for through perseverance and faith we will win the race. The joy and blessings of Easter can be ours if we can put God first in our lives and turn away from living our lives on our terms. Easter is here; let us hold fast to the spiritual habits we have strived to develop during Lent Season of 40 days of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Let us not forget that prayer, fasting and giving a fitting portion back to God are not just for Lent but for every day of our lives Let the light of Christ resurrection light up all your crosses by constantly seeking His face. This is my Easter story what is yours?