He Is Risen! Jesus Is Alive! Alleluia!
Happy Easter! Jesus is alive! He is risen!
Holy Week and the Easter Triduum have had new meaning for me this year. It’s been more personal. Probably because I was in the Holy Land – the very places where these holy events in the life of Jesus actually occurred – in February. Seeing the places… being there… experiencing the distances and the details… it all has an impact on you. I think that is what I am experiencing this year. Jesus’ resurrection is more real, more tangible, for me now.[Incidentally, I am going back to the Holy Land from February 25 to March 7, 2015 for the second “Food Meets Faith” pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Join me, if you are able.]
Last night, at one point during the Easter Vigil, my wife handed me her Magnificat Magazine so that I could read the reflection for the Easter Liturgy. I read it and I was blown away. It was written by Pope Francis, and it simply and succinctly describes the personal power of Jesus’ resurrection for you and for me. I have re-read that reflection a few times today, and I continue to be amazed and overjoyed by the love of God for us in the gift of Jesus and his resurrection. He is not far away! He is so close to us!
I have included that reflection for you below, if you have not yet read it. I would also encourage you to subscribe to Magnificat Magazine. It is an excellent resource to help you grow in prayer and faith.
Pope Francis on the Power of Jesus’ Resurrection for Me and for You
“The women [who go to the tomb of Jesus with spices to anoint Jesus’ body] continued to feel love, the love for Jesus which now led them to his tomb. But at this point, something completely new and unexpected happens, something which upsets their hearts and their plans, something which will upset their whole life… Doesn’t the same thing also happen to us when something completely new occurs in our everyday life? We stopped short, we don’t understand, we don’t know what to do. Newness often makes us fearful, including the newness which God brings us, the newness which God asks of us.
“We are like the Apostles in the Gospel: often we would prefer to hold onto our own security, to stand in front of the tomb, to think about someone who has died, someone who ultimately lives on only as a memory, like the great historical figures from the past. We are afraid of God’s surprises… He always surprises us.
“Let us not be closed to the newness that God wants to bring into our lives! Are we often weary, disheartened and sad? Do we feel weighed down by our sins? Do we think that we won’t be able to cope? Let us not close our hearts, let us not lose confidence, let us never give up: there are no situations which God cannot change, there is no sin which he cannot forgive if only we open ourselves to him.
“How often does love have to tell us: why do you look for the living among the dead? Our daily problems and worries can wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness and bitterness… and that is where death is. That is not the place to look for the One who is alive! Let the risen Jesus enter your life, welcome him as a friend, with trust: he is life! If up till now you have kept him at a distance, step forward. He will receive you with open arms. If you have been indifferent, take a risk: you won’t be disappointed. If following him seems difficult, don’t be afraid, trust him, be confident that he is close to you, he is with you and he will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as he would have you do.
“To remember what God has done and continues to do for me, for us, to remember the road we have traveled; this is what opens our hearts to hope for the future. We learn to remember everything that God has done in our lives.” – Pope Francis