What wonderful Good News for us and for the whole world! We see and hear such dreadful news, day after day, and perhaps find ourselves defeated with crime, war, terror, abuse and neglect. And then there's the economy!
Interestingly, the truth of the Lord Jesus' resurrection does not seem to change the political, economic, social or military realities. At least, not at first glance.
At the Easter Vigil (Latin/Roman Rite) we hear the solemn proclamation called the Exsultet, "This is the night when Christians everywhere, washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement, are restored to grace and grow together in holiness. This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death and rose triumphant from the grave."
It is a solemn proclamation by believers with small candles aglow from the single Paschal Candle proclaiming the Lord's victory over sin and death. I think of the late Archbishop Paulos Rahha of Mosul who apparently perished when kidnapped -- how is this relatively small Chaldean Christian Church in the Iraqi archdiocese suffers with his loss. Are they experiencing any joy as Christians this Easter?
And so, before the injustice that countless people suffer -- before the oppression of the Burmese and Tibetan peoples, before the wanton slaughter in Gaza, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan; before the drug lords of Mexico and Colombia; before the street gangs and organized crime bosses in our own country; before those who defy the laws of God in our civil society and take the lives of unborn children and threaten the lives of the weak and the vulnerable under the aegis of "euthanasia"; before those who take advantage of the poor and the elderly,those who attempt to undo neighborhoods for shameful profit -- we boldly -- and lovingly -- declare that Christ is risen! Indeed he is risen!
What makes the difference is our very lives! More powerful than policies, more eloquent than legislation -- as important as these may be -- the difference is the lives we live in the Risen Lord. St. Paul teaches us in his Letter to the Romans, which we heard again at the Easter Vigil (6:3-11), ". . . you must think of yourselves as dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus" (vs. 11).
Therein lies the victory of Christ, into which we are baptized. We are alive -- because of Holy Baptism -- in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are not dead, we are alive! And in our partaking in the Eucharist, we share in the Lord Jesus' own victory. Hence, we live holy lives -- filled with God's Holy Spirit.