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"Do not abandon yourselves to despair.
We are an Easter people, and alleluia is our song."
St. Pope John Paul II
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!!
While I must admit that our Lenten practices were perhaps not as self-righteously penitential as I would have hoped, there is nothing like the joy of Easter morning when we once again proclaim victory. It is a victory over sin, over despair, over suffering...indeed over death itself. We have a Savior who has suffered the humiliation and pain of Good Friday, who has in the time of waiting gone to loose the chains of the prisoners below, so on this day we might all rise in glory to the heights of the heavens.
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God,
who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:55-57
There is a lightness about our spirits today, as we experience the Easter miracle in our own lives. Perhaps it was that both kids were quiet all through Mass - MIRACLE OF MIRACLES! Perhaps it is that they actually took Easter photos and looked at the camera - MIRACLE OF MIRACLES! Maybe it is simply that the sorrow of Good Friday, and all the Good Friday moments of our lives, has been made right by the rejoicing of this day of resurrection. A day when all things are made new, where new life is made possible even after the darkest of days.
"Never let anything so fill you with sorrow
as to make you forget the joy of Christ risen."
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
If you are suffering, struggling, despairing, hopeless - I beg of you - hand it to Jesus. Let us pray with you and share in your burden. We have been there, friends. We know the loss of death. We know the despair of lives turning out differently than expected, of facing what seems like ruin and failure. We know the struggles of addiction, of feeling empty and unloved. We know what it feels like to feel alone and abandoned. We also know, without a shred of doubt, what it feels like to have a Lord who loves us too much to leave us in that grave of despair. We know without a shred of doubt that while we may not understand the valley, Jesus is walking with us through it to the mountaintop where He will leave us with more goodness than we can imagine or deserve. For every dark night of sobbing and heartache, Jesus waits with a bright morning of joy. He makes all things new in His time. Let us wait with you if you are walking through your valley. Rejoice with us in hope for the joy that awaits you.
What does it mean that Jesus is risen?
It means that the love of God
is stronger than evil and death itself,
it means that the love of God
can transform our lives and
let those desert places in our hearts bloom.
The love of God can do this!
Jesus Christ is risen, He loves you (yes, you!), and He promises to lift you up with Him in glory.