Introduction: My dear friends in Christ, what a happy season! Jesus, Our Savior has conquered death for us. He died our death to give us new life by His resurrection. Does it sound magical or fictitious? Wrong. It is real. We have to believe & feel it in our lives by faith & actions. Yes, for those who believe, death is not the last word when we depart this world. Jesus has given the last word by His resurrection. Through it, we are now able to conquer sin & death and be ready to inherit eternal blessedness in heaven. We can now, with Christ, crush the head of the ancient serpent. What a joy! When Jesus described Himself as ‘the way, the truth & the life’ (Jn.14:6), He was, among other things, portraying Himself as the life of humanity. He is that life which death cannot overcome. Hence, the resurrection of Jesus is an emphatic demonstration of His victory over sin & death, freeing us from the holds of Satan (who brought sin & death to humanity) and offering us NEW LIFE. How do we respond to this divine favor?
We have to key into the new dawn: The resurrection of Christ brought a new dawn. None of His disciples expected it, although He had told them about His rising from the dead (after three days) in many instances & in different forms (Mtt.17:22-23, Jn.2:19, etc.). But one can excuse them, since nothing of such had happened in history. They needed divine illumination & a ‘leap of faith’ to comprehend what Jesus was telling them about ‘rising from the dead’. This explains the confusion of Mary Magdalene when she got to the tomb and why she sounded so desperate in her message to Peter & John – ‘they have taken the Lord from the tomb & we do not know where they put Him’ (Jn.20:2). The two disciples fell into the same confusion & hurried to the tomb. Little did they know that a new dawn had come. Jesus had demonstrated His power over sin & death, confirming what He said earlier; ‘I have the power to lay down my life & the power to take it up again’ (Jn.10:18). The Church now invites to join in this new era of victory over sin & death, a time that celebrates the mercy & love of God for sinful humanity (Jn.3:16-17). In this, God has given us a new life in Christ through justification by faith. Hence, St. Peter concludes, ‘…everyone who believes in Jesus will receive forgiveness of sins through His name’ (Acts.10:43). We should, therefore, not hold back our sins or remain in them.
Begin the new life today: The symbolism of the death & resurrection of Christ (celebrated at every baptism) is that, as He has risen from the dead, we too should rise from our sins to lives of holiness. This has been the central message we hear every Easter. But has it made any visible impact in our lives? Here comes another opportunity this year (this Easter season). We have to make a deliberate decision to abandon our old ways (of sin) in the tomb where they belong, just as Jesus left the burial cloths used on Him in the tomb & rose with a transformed body on new cloths. As St. Paul said; ‘whoever is in Christ Jesus is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come’ (1Cor.5:17). The truth is, unless we abandon the old, we cannot possess the new. And, if we never die to anything, we cannot rise to anything new or gain fittingly from the Easter joy of this season. As Jesus told us, you do not use a piece of new coat to patch up an old one or put new wine into an old wineskin to avoid efforts in futility (Lk.5:36-38). Let us do all we can to make this Easter impactful in our lives.
Follow the light of the new dawn: As the darkness of sin & death is dispelled by the light of Christ’s resurrection (symbolized in the Paschal candle), Jesus wants us to understand that any form of difficulty or misery around us cannot last forever. They all have expiration dates. We should not, like Judas (who killed himself for betraying his master – Jesus), lose sight of the light of Christ, His Love & His Mercy, no matter the condition we face. But like Peter (after his denial of Christ), let us hold on to God’s loving mercies & keep to His guiding light which easily brings us back to God. Any ugly experience we meet in life only tells us how empty & hopeless life can be without God (in whom we live & move & have our being). In truth, we can overcome any situation in life if we remain faithful to Christ – our light. Remember, darkness will only triumph when the light goes off or cannot shine again. So, let us keep the light of faith, hope, charity & prayer burning in our hearts & families. The radiance of this Easter light, burning brightly in the Church for the next seven weeks of the Easter season, is a sign of victory, new dawn & new life. All thanks to Jesus who made it possible.
As we celebrate the victory Christ won for us over Satan, sin & death this Easter season, we should not forget that Satan is enraged. He will now be more aggressive in his battle against us. But the good news is that we will always conquer him with the blood of Jesus & the power of His resurrection working in us. May all Glory, Honor, Adoration & Thanksgiving be to Him through whom the story of our lives cannot end in the grave, but in heaven. Alleluia!
Reverend Timothy Okeahialam , administrator at Most Holy Trinity Church-Trinidad
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