He Is Risen!
He Is Risen! The day of our salvation has come! Jesus, the Christ has died and he is risen again. Alleluia! Hosanna in the Highest!
Our annual Lenten journey where we consciously enter into the life of Jesus’ public ministry with all of its wonder, its miracles, its challenges to our reticence, our denial, our presumed comfort, is finished. We have gone into the desert with Jesus, we have wandered the villages and towns, listened again to his words, seen his miracles. We have gone with him to the Garden at Gethsemane, watched his betrayal, remembered his terrible suffering and death on the cross. And now, because we have celebrated again the greatest event of all of history, his resurrection, our hearts and minds are bursting with joy. Our faithful observation of Lent with our daily prayer, our fastings, great and small, and our alms giving is over—for another year. Or is it?
Holy Week is part of the Church’s liturgical observance every year. It is there to help us remember the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God and what it means to us personally. It is only one week and for most, it is just another work week. But for we who call ourselves Christians, Lent and Holy Week challenge us not just to think about these things, but to learn how to live our lives every day of the year in the knowledge that: ʺChrist Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven, and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God.ʺ (Philippians 2:6-11)
The first chapters of human history ended with the death of Christ on the cross and it began again, brand new with his resurrection. Even though we know that all of these things took place in history, they are still larger than our minds can contemplate in their fullness. Even though we know that sin is still in the world, and even in our own hearts at times, we know that forgiveness and new life are ours because of the self-sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
It is only through faith that we can even begin to understand what God has done for us in Jesus, and continues to do for us in his Holy Spirit. So, the Church, in its wisdom, gives us this Lenten time every year to challenge us, once again, to focus our minds, our hearts, and our souls, on the Mystery of the Incarnation. Now that this Lent and Holy Week are over, we are challenged to make our Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and alms giving, and our Easter joy, into the habits of our daily lives throughout the entire year.
Nothing we do can ever be as important as our faithful imitation of Christ in every aspect of our daily lives. We are to try, with all of our being, to live every day out of the recognition of God’s love for us. We are to remember that he died for us out of that love, and that because he died he put an end to death forever by rising again on the third day. If Good Friday and Easter are not in our hearts and minds every day, we have not yet fully understood the Great Mystery of the Incarnation. When Good Friday and Easter Sunday are the core of our faith, the ground out of which we live our daily lives, we make Christ incarnate in everything we do and, more importantly, to all we live with and meet every day. This is the meaning of Easter. This is the reason for our joy. Jesus is our companion and our guide. He is the source of meaning and purpose in everything we do and say. He is our encouragement and our strength when we love and serve our others as he did. When we have incorporated Good Friday and Easter Sunday into our daily lives we will be able to wake up every morning with the joy of Easter in our minds and in our hearts.
Lord, we pray that you help us to die to our selfishness and our pride, so that we can rise with you each day we have in this life, and on the Last Day, when you come again. Amen.