As I get older, I increasingly realize a certain void left in my life as a result of the death of relatives and friends. I am no longer able to pick up the phone to say “hello” or to stop over to visit with them. I tell myself that someday I hope to see them again, but I don’t have ultimate control over when, where, how—or if. I have to wait, hope and trust.
Can you imagine what the apostles went through at the death of Jesus? Did all of their hopes and expectations die with Him on the cross? They saw their leader, their teacher, their rabbi, mocked cruelly, beaten mercilessly and then put to death. I suspect they feared for their very lives. Perhaps they recalled some of the things that he had told them to keep His memory alive. The events of Good Friday did not present any apparent hope or future possibilities. Death seemed so callous, cruel and final. Death seemed triumphant.
Then came Easter. Everything changed. He is risen! Somehow, despite the horrible things that were done to Him, He is still alive—miraculously!
For us as Christians nothing is really as important as Christ conquering sin and death and rising from the dead. Easter is about Resurrection. It is about eternal life. It is about hope and joy.
Unfortunately, we all will face the Good Fridays of our lives. Death will come to each of us and to the ones that we love. It may seem cruel, unfair, and so permanent. We may not know what we are going to do or where we should turn. We may even be on the brink of despair. However, in these darkest of hours, turn to Jesus. Trust Jesus.
I can only imagine the inexplicable joy that the apostles had when they saw Jesus alive again. I am sure that it surpassed their greatest expectations and gave them a faith in Christ that they would subsequently take to the ends of the earth. They would live and die for Christ, trying to spread His message of Good News—the Gospel. They would speak about resurrection and eternal life. They had their hope restored and they attempted to give others this hope in Jesus.
This Easter I pray that you experience the joy of the Risen Christ. May your faith in Him and love for Him increase and radiate from your entire being.
He is not dead but very much alive!
I thank all who work so hard and who are so generous in helping to strengthen our Christian faith community here at St. Joseph’s. Be assured of my daily prayers and Masses for all of you.
May I ask a continued remembrance in your prayers and Masses as well?
Fr. Ed Namiotka