Because of Easter – Jett Villarin, SJ

 Luke 24:1-12, Easter Vigil 2010

One-dimensional. That was how Mayweather described Pacquiao’s fighting style. I guess it means a limited repertoire of moves, predictable, monotonous. Easter can be understood in a one-dimensional sense too. We can for instance reduce Easter to the afterlife (“pie in the sky when you die”). However, we do not really need the resurrection to know about life after death. We only have to watch those zombie or vampire movies or even get a group going on ghost stories to know that dead people aren’t really dead. Remember the child’s eerie line in “Sixth Sense”: “I see dead people.”

If Easter is more than one-dimensional “pie in the sky,” what is the meaning of what we celebrate tonight? What is the point of this glorious mystery?

Simply this. That because of tonight we now know that all the world is charged with the life and love of God, as it has always been, although we may not have known it.

Because of Easter, we now know that even if we do not bear any likeness to each other, we are related because we are God’s children, God’s very own; we are brothers and sisters, bound in Christ, co-heirs with Christ in the life of grace.

From now on, we know where to find Christ should we look for him. We will recognize his face in the least of our brothers and sisters. We will see him (however dimly) in all those who are poor enough to long for him.

We can now face evil, selfishness, even death because they are not the last word; with St Paul, we can look death in the eye and ask, “O death where is your victory, O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor 15:55). We can confront the dark side, the darkness by our side, knowing that when Christ descended to the dark side, He showed us how far and deep love will go.

Because of tonight, we can hope again; when we fail, we can rise again and again because mercy does not end, because mercy is infinite.

We can love again and again, even if we have lost again and again, because love is more than one-dimensional. We will be less afraid now when we go to the barren places and empty tombs of our lives, because love, like mercy, is risen. Love, like mercy, is infinite.

We will be more careful now about wounding each other because even if the wounds eventually close and heal, we shall carry the scars of these wounds for all eternity.

Because of Easter, we can be good again; we can be kind and faithful again, knowing that goodness and kindness and faithfulness shall not be in vain.

Because of the resurrection, we can now find a little more rest because God is awake; now we can sleep a little bit more when we make those turbulent crossings in our lives because the Lord of the waves is in the boat with us.

Because of this glorious mystery, we can now work a little less compulsively or obsessively, and we will not be possessed by our projects and our glory, because His is the vineyard, and we His stewards, who are also His friends.

Tonight, we will be more thankful, less regretful about the past. We will brood less over what has been lost and broken, and we will not dwell much on how far we are from Paradise because the gates to Paradise are being opened again.

Because of Easter, we will hoard less and live more freely. We can now be less anxious or covetous because we know that life (like love and mercy) never ends. Because of tonight, we know that death is not the destiny, and that our eternal lives have only just begun.

These are why we rejoice over Christ’s rising. These are why Easter is more than the one-dimensional cartoons of the afterlife that we get when we tell ghost stories or watch vampire movies.

Because of Easter, and unlike the child in Sixth Sense, we see more than dead people. Because of Christ’s Easter life that now abides in us, we see life and we now know it to be much bigger than we can ever imagine. We see love, and we now know it to be stronger than death, raising us up to eternal life, and leading us joyfully back to God.

 

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