Easter is the greatest feast of hope that we could ever celebrate. We humans are always in need of hope. The hope that we have through the resurrection of Christ is a hope that touches every part of our lives here on earth and reaches beyond this life to the next.
When Jesus rose from the dead, almost 2,000 years ago, God released a power into the world that no one could stop. This power roamed the planet and found its ways into the hearts of millions and millions of people, from one century to the next until it reached us.
When we come together on Easter Sunday, we are united by the hope that there is more to life than what we are now experiencing. The hope of Christ’s resurrection is that this powerful event can touch every part of our existence even the dark and despairing situation in which we find ourselves. It can bring light into the dark corners of our lives.
It’s easy for the powers of darkness to insert their influences over us. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead promises hope in all dark situations, promising to bring life out of death. Easter addresses two kinds of death in a most powerful way: the death caused by sin, and the physical death that each of us must undergo.
One of the greatest messages of hope that Easter gives is that we will be freed from our own dark creations, from our own sinfulness. Sometimes the greatest source of our despair is our own inability to live with the sin that we have committed.
They tell the story of a man who had been living under a terrible burden of guilt for many years. He had done something immoral that no one else knew about and he was convinced that he was beyond all hope of forgiveness. Finally, he met a woman who claimed to be a mystic. She maintained to have visions in which Christ appeared and spoke to her.
Seeking to test her claim, the man said to her, “You say that you speak directly with Christ in your visions. I have a secret that no one else on earth knows. The next time you are in conversation with Christ, please ask him what sin I committed years ago that has destroyed my peace of soul.”
The mystic said that she would gladly ask Christ that question.
Several days later, the two met again. The man asked, “Did you visit with Christ in a vision?”
“Yes,” she answered.
“And did you ask him what terrible sin I committed years ago?”
Again she answered, “Yes.”
“Tell me, what did Christ say?”
“He said, ‘I forgot.’”
Wow! Isn’t it strange that we hold onto our sinfulness long after God has let it go? This is the beautiful message that God wants to write on our hearts this Easter season. In the Acts of the Apostles we read, “He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:42-43).
The second death that Easter frees us from is physical death. None of us can control this aspect of our lives. We must face this reality, but the promise and hope that Jesus gives through his resurrection can bring hope of a much better life, one that will never end.
Through our Baptism God made us one with the risen Christ. We promised God that we would reject the darkness of sin and live as God’s liberated sons and daughters. Since we made those promises, we have not always been true to them. But Christ doesn’t keep track of our mistakes. His only concern is that we reject those past sins and start again.
May this Easter allow us to begin again to live our lives in freedom and peace.