The Day That Changed The World

by Rev. Raymond K. Petrucci

It is very easy to comment about Easter because it is the central experience of the Christian faith and it is very difficult to comment about Easter because it is the central experience of the Christian faith. The power, mystery and magnificence of that event humbles one to awe and silence. Yet, let us piously review the cause and consider the effects. The facts seem clear enough: early morning on the first day of the week and the third day since the crucifixion (ancient custom reckons Friday as the first day) some women among the disciples of Jesus went to the tomb to perform the ritual anointing of the body and they found the tomb empty except for an angelic being who told them that Jesus has risen and to report this to the disciples. Peter and John confirmed the report. Some time later Jesus appears to the apostles instructing them to preach the Good News to the whole world. Those who encountered the risen Christ understood Jesus' presence not as that of a ghost, but as that of the historical Jesus. The disciples and later Saint Paul had no doubt about their experience. The nature of our faith is expressed so well in Jesus' words to Thomas: "You believe because you can see me. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe." (John 20:20)

Due to this day, we can never be the same. It should not startle us that the power of God could cause the Resurrection, but our human sensibilities would prefer to see and touch Jesus. However, our challenge is not belief in the Resurrection, but how we respond to the Resurrection. The people recognized an authoritative quality in the way Jesus taught and spoke. The resurrection of Jesus verified those feelings and called all to live in the truth of his teachings and promises. Victory has been achieved over anxiety and fear, sin and death. In the Risen Lord, we arrive at a new definition of life and death. We can live our lives filled with faith and hope because it has been shown that love is eternal and that we are heirs to divine life.

How are we to be transformed in this mystery? Spring has arrived. Everywhere we look the process of transformation from death to life is seen. New life is bursting forth all about us. Along with the rest of creation, we ought to participate in this newness and this becoming, but on a far higher level. The Jesuit theologian Pierre Teilhard De Chardin once said: "Christ has conquered death not only by suppressing its evil effects, but by reversing its sting. By virtue of the Resurrection, nothing any longer kills inevitably buy everything is capable of becoming the blessed touch of the divine hands, the blessed influence of the will of God upon our lives. However, comprised by our faults, or however cast down by circumstances our position may be, we can at any moment by a total redressment, wholly readjust the world around us and take up our lives again in a favorable sense. To those who love God all things are turned to good." Faith, hope and love are the nutrients in our soil and the sap flowing in our veins. It is the "doing of the good" in the revelation of Easter that becomes the fruit that we bear. With perseverance we are able to prune the sinful and, therefore, unproductive branches of our characters and to stimulate the growth of the graceful and lovely qualities.

Be alert to the opportunities ever unfolding to act in a way that raises the human character. It will be these deeds of insight and of will that will mark us as an Easter people. May our lives be defined by the Resurrection. Then, no tomb can hold us.

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