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by Rev. Mark Connolly

Easter, in the Catholic tradition, is the season of hope. Good Friday, the agony, the suffering of Christ, have come and gone. The victory of Christ over sin and death are the themes that make this season so important to the average Catholic. Almost every Catholicís life is a replay of what has taken place during that first Holy Week and Easter Sunday.

There is almost no one who goes throughout life without escaping the events of that first Holy Week. We know we are not going to go through an agony, scourging or crucifixion identical to that of Christ. But in our own life we go through an agony of cancer, a scourging of mental pain, a crucifixion of pain in the form of a terminal cancer or Alzheimer.

Not that it is too consoling to those who are in pain at this moment, but almost every generation since the time of Christ has gone through its own crucifixion. From the times of Christ, when children died from diseases that in our times are curable, going into the Middle Ages and the Black or Bubonic plague, down to our own generation of cancer and AIDS, almost every generation of families has had its own crosses, mental or physical to carry. And there is a basic logic in all of this. If suffering did not pass by Christ, who was pure and innocent, if suffering did not pass by Christís mother Mary, if suffering did not pass by the First Holy Family, it is not going to pass by us. Suffering is an ingredient of sanctity and we are all called to be saints.

If you study other religions you will soon find that suffering and holiness are linked together. Mankind, and that means each one of us, is in a process of being cleansed and purified. And this is done, not through the amassing of wealth or awards or medals, but through our identifying our life with the life of Christ.

Easter Sunday and its themes of hope and resurrection take away from the sadness of Good Friday. Easter Sunday says to every Christian, I have a chance, even with all my flaws and sins, I have a chance to live in Eternity with the Christ who died for me on Good Friday.

Easter Sunday because of the victory of Christ over death, tells me I must be of worth, I must have some value, if Christ died for me. And that is what Christ did.

He not only died for the one reading this article, he died for all of us.

When you read the writings of St. John and St. Paul on this theme of hope and resurrection, there is no doubt about the life that awaits us after our journey on this earth is over. It isnít that important to know exactly what life style we are going to have. All that we have to know is that a new life style will take place because of the victory of Christ over death that we commemorate on Easter Sunday. Billy Graham once said, I donít know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.

And so does every Christian. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a protestant theologian, as he was about to be put to death in a concentration camp, once said something that all of us should remember. This life is a journey for all of us. Because of Christ and his victory on Easter Sunday, each one of us while on this earth will fall asleep with Christ in Gethesemene and awake in the arms of God in eternity.

We should find God in what we do know,
not in what we donít;
Not in outstanding problems,
but in those we have already solved.

Ė Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1943)

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