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  • Writer's pictureFr. Austin

... For You

Jesus Christ rose from the dead – about 1,990 years ago, give or take.  His impact on the lives of billions of people has been felt for those 19 centuries since.  The grace of His resurrection, mediated through the Church and countless saints, has transformed lives and made the impossible possible.  Jesus is, quite simply, the most impactful Person ever to live. Add on to that the fact that He is no ordinary Man, no mere “hero.” No. Jesus is God, and through His Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection, we are united to God ourselves. Thus, because of our Baptism into Christ’s death and resurrection, we have eternal life.

I doubt that there is anyone here who does not know this. We are a people shaped by this message, formed into Christ’s Church.

However, there are still “unchurched” people, who go through their lives without a connection to the divine in any organized way. The fact that Christ lived, suffered, died, and rose for them is a distant thought, if it’s one of their thoughts at all. But it is also true that unchurched people know the Easter story – it’s hard not to.

They just don’t care.

I don’t say this as a harsh or angry judgement.  It’s simply a matter of fact. The story of Jesus is not a meaningful one for them, so it is rarely told. They already know what happened – some may even accept it as a fact. What they do not seem to know is why it happened. That’s the task of the Church today – to proclaim the Resurrection, certainly, but also to proclaim that the Resurrection means something for us.

This is not new.  On that first Easter morning, no one knew that rising from the dead was even an option. Death was final, inevitable.  Our lives were lived in “quiet desperation” – going from one thing to another, without ever knowing if there was a reason for it. We knew that God was “there” but what that meant was unclear.

But, friends, we were created for joy and vitality – that was true from the beginning.  Through sin and the consequent death and suffering that entered the world because of it, we forgot what we were made for. We forgot that we are created in an Image and with a Purpose.  That image is renewed today in Jesus Christ.  That purpose is rededicated today in His Resurrection.  You are going to live forever! And that life is part of the grand plan of God for all creation, all of time.

Because of this, your life has meaning – even the suffering and confusion that can be a part of it.  Jesus has taken all that on Himself, He has nailed it to the Cross, and He has renewed the Image of God in each one of us. That is Good News!

And because it is Good News, we need to share it. This is not a private message for any one person; it never has been.  Those who say that our faith is private are mistaken.  Our faith is personal, sure, but not private.  From that first morning of the resurrection, the Church has been going out – She needs to go out – and shared the news of Christ’s life with others.

Is this something we can do? In our society, keeping such things to ourselves is seen as a virtue almost – an expression of the separation of our faith and other people’s comfort. However, what happens when they – like so many people today – are living lives of quiet desperation – going from thing to thing, feeling the life drained from them because there doesn’t seem to be a point? Don’t we have a duty to speak a word to them that will bring peace, joy, and meaning? Don’t we have that Word?

We do! Jesus Christ has died and risen from the dead! Because of this, we too will rise from the dead.  Our lives are not meaningless accidents, but real expressions of God’s love for us and for others. This is why we are here; and I dare say you already know this. But, can you share that message? Can you speak it every day to bring that life to others?

Turn to the person in the pew nearest you. Look at them, and say, “Jesus died and rose again for you.” That’s the Easter proclamation, simply put. Tell them.  Hear it. Remember it!

“Jesus died and rose again for you.” If we cannot proclaim this Good News to our neighbor in the pew, in the parish, and in the pastorate, how can we think we can proclaim it anywhere else? As you go forth in the joy of this Easter, really consider why Christ’s resurrection matters to you – only then can you share its power with others.

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