Easter 2013 Message
We are completing the grace-filled Lenten journey and are arriving at the joyful celebration of the resurrection of our Lord. What does the resurrection of Jesus mean to us?
Humanly speaking, the life of Jesus on this earth looked to be a big failure. None of his projects was realized. His teachings and doings were not properly understood and much less received by his contemporaries. The physical and mental agony that he had to go through may not find any parallels in human history. Jesus may be the most misunderstood person in history. Even his closest collaborators deserted him at the most crucial moment of his life. And the most important person of his life, in whom Jesus laid his ultimate trust, whose will he came to fulfill, seemed to abandon him, namely his own beloved Father – this is what is reflected in the last cry of Jesus on the cross – “My Lord, my Lord, why have you forsaken me”. And that life was brought to an end at the tender age of 33, an age when an average person of this world only begins to live seriously. And this end was, again humanly speaking, the most humiliating end, the death on a cross – a destiny reserved by the Romans only for the worst wrong doing slaves and foreigners.
But that was not the real end of the whole story. On the third day he rose, defeating all the defeats and limitations that his life on earth had to suffer – and for that matter, any life on earth has to suffer. Death is perhaps the last and gravest limitation of human existence. The resurrection of Jesus signaled the ultimate victory over this limitation also. All the sufferings, defeats, disappointments, contradictions and ironies of human life are surpassed and the human life is invested with a new meaning and destiny. This is what made St. Paul to confess that if Jesus were not risen, life would be utterly meaningless.
Easter signifies the ultimate possibility of the human existence. Easter guarantees the ultimate success of human life. As we know, our life on earth is replete with shortcomings, limitations, disappointments and failures. Often sorrowful experiences outweigh joyful experiences in our life. Then what can provide meaning to life? Why should we drag on amidst so much suffering and absurdity? The only reality that could solve the riddle of the apparent absurdity of human life and of the apparent senselessness of human suffering is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Life is meaningful because it has a destiny. Life is meaningful because it has an eternal dimension, because it outlives death. Suffering is transitory and it has a purpose; genuine suffering is salvific. The ultimate outcome of human life is peace and joy. This is what the life, death and resurrection of Jesus witness to us. This is the certitude that we attain through the faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
But this faith in the resurrection of Jesus poses a real challenge to us, namely the challenge to take our earthly life seriously. Resurrection of Jesus was the vindication of the life of Jesus from the part of his Father. This is how St. Paul understands Jesus’ resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus gives us the guarantee that any life that tries seriously to appropriate the integrity and the intensity that characterized the life of Jesus cannot be subjected to the rule of suffering and death for ever. That life will be rewarded with the gift of resurrection by God. That life will rise in new life, endowed with peace and joy that endure forever. Easter is our final destiny; Easter is our ultimate hope; but Easter is also our biggest responsibility because we have to earn it from God, through our life on earth, through a serious life that is dedicated to the values of Jesus Christ. I wish all of you the peace and joy of the Risen Lord!