March 30, 2013 – The Easter Focus

I hope your Lenten season was a grace-filled time and that this Holy Week brought forth a renewed sense of what it means to be a Christian.  Before I went to the Good Friday liturgy last night, I caught some of the service from the national Basilica in Washington, D.C.  The homilist talked about how this was a Lent that really stood out.  In fact an event happened this past Lent that we hadn’t seen in 600 years.  He was of course referring to the resignation of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and the election of Pope Francis.  We also had this past week the hearings in the Supreme Court dealing with the issue of same-sex “marriages” which garnered a lot of press coverage.  These are tremendously important events in the life of the church.  However, these do not compare to the importance of the event that we celebrate this weekend.

The event of Jesus overcoming death and rising to new life is the most important historical event that has ever occurred, and will ever occur until He comes again.  Easter is the feast of feasts, the greatest joy and gladness of all Christians.  Because Jesus lives, we have hope. We are a new creation. We can look at life through new eyes, think with life-giving thoughts, and speak words of wisdom and understanding. Because he lives, we have peace. The unknown doesn’t have to shake us. God is for us, and nothing can separate us from his love. Because he is alive, we are free from the law of sin and death. We are forgiven. Period. Jesus’ blood has cleansed us, and because he lives eternally, this cleansing is powerful. Though our lives are hidden in Christ now, one day we will appear with him in glory.

I have always enjoyed Holy Week.  You hear the usual complaints – “there’s so much church,” or “the Easter Vigil is so long.”  But for me it brings the focus back where it needs to be – why we are Christians in the first place.  It brings back to focus why despite our imperfections and sinfulness, that we still have the opportunity to enjoy eternal life with God if we follow His teachings.  It brings back to focus the completely unselfish acts of Jesus over those 3 eventful days.  It brings back to focus what our true priorities should be.

It is certainly important to follow current events and how they impact the life of the church.  But in the midst of all that is around us, we cannot forget the basic fundamentals of Christian life.  Even if we struggle with some of what the church teaches, the focus of Easter can bring us back to the basics of our faith.  I saw a brief video a while back from Fr. Robert Barron that talks about what we would say to someone who is struggling with church teaching.  Here is what he says:

 The great and wonderful Good News for christians everywhere is that God is near. Our sins caused us to be separated from God. They put an infinite distance between us and God. Our Creator, our infinitely loving Father in heaven, has, in His Son Jesus Christ, opened the way back to Him. The tree in the Garden of Eden that brought death to us has been replaced by the Tree of the Cross in the Garden of the Resurrection. The seduction of Satan in Eden’s garden has been nullified by the love of the crucified Christ, a love that could not be contained by the tomb and which burst forth in Easter’s dawn, that dawn which ushers us into God’s New Creation.  This is the basis of the Christian life.  If we keep this in mind, everything else will fall into place.

I wish you and your loved ones a very happy Easter season.  May the Risen Lord bestow His abundant blessings upon you.  Thank you for your continued support of our ministry and our website.  Have a great Easter week!  Peace.

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