April 17, 2022
The celebration of Easter is not a temporary flight from reality. It is part of the Paschal Mystery where Jesus exposes evil and confronts it. And He emerges victorious, to show us the way.
- Some people come to the Easter service sensing the joy of the resurrection of Jesus. Others come with a lot of pain and sadness, with heavy hearts and struggles and do not feel the resurrection of Jesus.
- John Paul referred to Easter celebration as the Paschal Mystery, the Passover of Jesus from suffering in death to the resurrection. It is one great passage.
- One of the works of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus and His Holy Spirit is to expose and uncover evil.
- When we become aware of the evil in our world and in our lives, it puts our faith to the test and we struggle to hope and believe.
- When we put to death our sinful nature, we can be freed from sin and experience a newness of life and the grace of the resurrection.
- If we participate in His passion, we will live His resurrection. That is why the celebration of Easter is to strengthen our hope.
One of the works of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus, and His Holy Spirit is to expose evil. What Jesus does is uncover evil. Because evil in our world is often hidden.
If we hold on to Jesus, this very suffering becomes the path to glory, becomes the very path to glory, the only path to glory. If we participate in His passion, we will live His resurrection. In the midst of all that we’re going through, and our world is going through, we repeat also today, “Jesus, we trust in You.”
“Their story seemed like nonsense, and they did not believe them.” Their story seemed like nonsense, and they did not believe them. That’s talking about the apostles did not believe them, the women. So why didn’t they believe them? Because the apostles believed strongly in Jesus. And they believed He was the son of God, and they knew that He had said repeatedly to them what was going to happen, and that He would rise. So why didn’t they believe? Because I think they were too shaken by even though they believed in Jesus, they were too shaken by all that it just happened, by all the pain and all the evil that they had just witnessed. Today, maybe some of us come sensing the joy of Easter, the joy of the resurrection of Jesus. Thanks be to God. But maybe others come with a lot of pain and sadness. Heavy in their hearts and struggling because they don’t see in their lives, they don’t feel in their lives, the resurrection of Jesus. And so, I think we need to go deeper. And that even helps us to go deeper to the sense of Easter. Because Easter is not you know, for a lot of people in the world, Easter is kind of a pretty little spring holiday, springs a nice time. And it’s pretty little spring holiday with pretty flowers and colors and Easter baskets and Easter bunnies. And then we get back to real life. But for Christians in the liturgy helps us to realize this Easter celebration we’re having today is part of what St. John Paul, this was a phrase he loved, and I use it often because he used it often, the Paschal mystery, the Paschal, that passage, the Passover of Jesus from suffering in death to the resurrection. And the thing that the Paschal mystery means is that it’s all part of one mystery. That’s all part of one great passage of Jesus. And we can’t separate the two. And so, Easter is part of this great passage that the Church has invited us to live from the agony of Jesus after the Last Supper, His agony, sweating blood in the garden, and then being arrested and abandoned, tortured, and, and condemned, and crucified. And then the terrible agony, of the grief of our Blessed Mother, with the other disciples. So, this is all part of that. And there’s the fact that our celebration this morning because we’re doing this at the time that Jesus actually rose from the dead. And how did our celebration begin, it began in darkness. And that’s very symbolic. It began in darkness, the darkness of this world of sin and suffering. And because that’s the way that the Paschal mystery the apostles on this morning, the disciples there this are on this early morning, they are still with that sense of a world which is dark. That is which is dark, because it seems like the presence of God has gone and evil has triumphed. And the Church has been scattered and shattered. So that’s why they’re struggling to believe. Because this leads us to part of the Paschal mystery that what Jesus does is uncover evil. Because evil in our world is often hidden. And it’s even much more dangerous when it’s hidden. And so, when Jesus enters into battle, one of His strategies is to call out evil, to reveal evil. So, He advances and He advances alone. And, and He forces evil to reveal itself, evil that, as I said, tries to hide. He forces it to be revealed. And especially in the leaders, the religious leaders, the political leaders, those who presented themselves as the wise, the learned ones, the experts, the holy ones, of Israel. And even after they had seen, Lazarus brought back to life by the Word of Jesus after three days, and three or four days in a tomb, making it very clear that Jesus was who He said He was. Even then, they resisted Him and hated Him, even hated Him more, because they were acting under satan. They hated Jesus, they hated God, they hated His children. And so that the work of Jesus, His action in these days, is to expose and reveal, uncover evil. And the leaders are able to manipulate the mob, the mob, which is superficial, fickle, many who had been just a few days earlier, proclaiming Jesus. And they can be manipulated, the crowd can be manipulated by those who know the tactics of manipulation. And then the disciples, even the apostles, many of them were very weak. And so, they were not able to resist. And so, it had never been so evident. And in the people, the people of Jesus, the people called to be the people of God, chosen to be the people of God, the evil that had corrupted them, even the very temple. And so, this is one of the works of the Paschall mystery of Jesus, and His Holy Spirit is to expose evil. But that’s very difficult. And so that’s what shakes the faith of the disciples, the apostles, the trauma of experiencing this evil. And we had the reading from Isaiah today, which says, “when the word of the Lord says,” talking about His people, “oh afflicted one, storm battered and unconsoled.” And that was the experience of our Blessed Mother, above all, but all the young Church at that point, afflicted, terribly affected, storm battered by the storm of hell, and unconsoled and bitterness. And so, they’re struggling to believe. And Mary, is the strongest, though she’s the one who’s also suffering the most, strong and waiting for the Lord to act, waiting and waiting, and waiting for the Lord to act, hoping against hope, when many even of the disciples had abandoned hope. Hoping in the triumph of Jesus resurrection, that even this darkest, the most evil of events, the killing of our Savior, even that cannot escape God’s plans. But on the contrary, what seemed that the victory of evil would become the greatest victory of God. And so, this is also what we’re experiencing. In our world there’s a lot of evil, which is often hidden, and the Holy Spirit can help reveal to us the presence of evil. Evil is very powerful in our world. Scripture says, “the whole world is under the power of satan.” Our whole world is under the power of satan, who knows so well how to manipulate. And, we think, for instance, we think of that extreme suffering in Ukraine, we think, for instance of the terrible tragedy of abortion, the sin of abortion, and even sins that we’re not so aware of because they’re hidden from us here, but which are terribly too common today, which is human trafficking, and organized human trafficking and human slavery and human abuse including child abuse so many times organized, made into an industry, in our world, in extreme numbers that we’re not even aware of. And unfortunately, Ukraine, there was a lot of that going on in Ukraine, this evil which contaminate and corrupt almost everything in our world, even good institutions. We know even in our Church, even among the pastors, and the members of the Church, it can be terribly corrupted by evil. So, when we become aware of that evil, it puts our faith to the test, we can struggle to hope and to believe. Just as Jesus seemed completely defeated, Jesus had said, to His enemies, “Destroy this temple,” and He was referring not to the building, but to the Temple of His own body, “and in three days, I’ll raise it up.” But they would destroy, kill His body. But that body is not just His physical body, but it’s also His mystical body, which is us, the Church. And the Church is so wounded, and often seems dying in many cases. And we may experience that also. That’s what St. Paul in the readings we had from St. Paul today. So, this very dense reading of St. Paul, what he’s telling us is that the Paschal mystery that we’ve been celebrating these days, is the hidden sense of your own life. And you can’t really understand your life, except by the Paschal mystery of Jesus. St. Paul begins by saying, “don’t you know?” Don’t you know, are you not aware that as he’s talking to the Christians, but about something that most of them are not even aware of. Even it’s their own life. Because it’s often hidden from ourselves. And so, what is it that he’s saying, “don’t you know.” He says, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus,” in the sacrament of baptism, “were baptized into His death,” into his death? What does that mean? Baptized into His death? He goes on to say that it’s not just baptism, he says, it’s our life. He says, “if we have been united with Him in death,” so they’re still all living but he says, “if we have been united with Him, in a death, like His’” so already without them perhaps understanding it, they are being united to His death. He says, “We know that our former man was crucified with Him, so that the sinful body might be destroyed. And we may no longer be enslaved to sin,” all of us are sinners. But there’s this transformation happening, in which the Lord is freeness from sin, by putting our sinful nature to death. And that’s what’s happening, in our lives here are being purified and transformed by the putting to death of our sinful nature so that we can be freed from sin. So, what he’s saying is that the very suffering that we experience now, which seems so far from glory, that seems the exact opposite. But if we believe in Jesus, if we hold on to Jesus, this very suffering becomes the path to glory, becomes the very path to glory, the only path to glory. He speaks of a newness of life that we can be experiencing now. He said, “We were buried therefore with Him by Baptism into death.” So, he’s insistent on how much we are sharing Jesus death. But then he says, but that’s not the end. It says, “so that as Christ was raised from the dead, by the glory of the Father, we too, might walk in newness of life”. So that right now, there’s already something new, that we can be living. Even as we’re still experiencing this, putting to death, we can already be experiencing also a newness of life, a life by faith, hope, and love. So already, that’s a way that we can be experiencing the grace of the resurrection, right now. But that’s not all. He says, “if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.” So, if we’re united with His death, we shall also live with Him. He says, “We know that Christ’s being raised from the dead, will never die again.” Not like Lazarus, or other people, have come back from the dead, but then to die again. Christ will never die again. In fact, he says “death no longer has dominion over Him.” And then he says, “if we have been united with Him, in a death, like His, if we have been united with Him, in a death Iike His. And we’re all of us, in different ways, are already experiencing that, in the sufferings of our life. He says, “if we had been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His.” So, what St. Paul’s insisting on is the Paschal mystery is one, we can’t have His resurrection, without participating in His passion. But if we participate in His passion, we will live His resurrection, even though we don’t feel that right now. So, as we celebrate today, the resurrection, that doesn’t mean that we necessarily feel it. Maybe God gives us some grace, just to feel it, to have a taste of it, and thanks be to God when He gives those graces. But I’m speaking to those who aren’t experiencing it. In this life, we experience much more His passion than His resurrection, we’re living much more His passion. And that’s why the celebration of Easter is to strengthen our hope, in His victory. Remember the words of Jesus at the Last Supper, “I have said this to you, that you may have peace.” And He’s saying this right before they’re going to experience that terrible trauma. “In the world, you will have tribulation,” and we’re experiencing tribulation, “but be of good courage, I have overcome the world.” He is the only one who has overcome the world, only Jesus. And those are, St. John says, who believe in Jesus, who hold on to Jesus, who are united to Jesus. And so, with our Blessed Mother, who experienced the worst of the darkness, and the pain, we turn to our risen Jesus. And we know that the great image that Jesus wanted of Divine Mercy, what is it? It’s an image of the risen Jesus. From His hands, in His hands and feet, they’re the marks of His crucifixion. Then from His heart that was pierced, the blood and water flowed out the graces and mercies. So, it’s the risen Jesus risen triumphant. In a great image of Mercy, risen triumphant, to pour out His grace and mercy. And what He needs from us is, trust. Jesus, I trust in You. In the darkness and the struggles of what you see right now. It’s not dark outside, but what is it? It’s cloudy. Right. And you don’t need faith to believe that it’s cloudy outside. But that’s also a sign, because that’s the way it often is in our world, that we believe that the sun’s out there, but we can’t see it. And that’s so often our experience in this world, things are cloudy. We can’t see His resurrection. We can’t see His glory, because it’s covered by the clouds, we believe that He’s there. And so, with our Blessed Mother, on this feast of the resurrection 2022, in the midst of all that we’re going through, and our world is going through, we repeat also today, “Jesus, we trust in You,” Amen.