Our Savior Lives! Alleluia, Alleluia | April 3, 2021 Essay
Today we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is this reality that anchors our faith. Without it we would have succumbed to the depths of despair this past year as we tried to avoid and eradicate the sinister tentacles of Covid-19. The anguish of darkness has been forever dispelled by the radiant light of hope that conquered death itself. We walk in this light whenever, by word or deed, we proclaim our belief in Jesus Christ and embrace each day as a gift from God. We rejoice and are glad that Our Savior lives.
On Easter, more than on any other day, we can say with conviction that God has not abandoned us. The death of God’s Son was but the overture of a symphony of joy. Love has triumphed over evil. The shackles of fear have been broken. The thinly veiled notion of being in control of our own destiny no longer has meaning for us. Yes, we have experienced in ways never imagined the frail nature of life itself. We have been abruptly grounded on the shoals of helplessness, but we are not trapped. We are more resilient and stronger, set free by the providential care of God. There is a thunderous, rising tide to our faith whose source is the movement of stone from a now-empty tomb. Our Savior lives!
Whether in the church or remotely, we gather this Easter to witness to our faith. We join in prayer to celebrate God’s love. Many of us will be reunited with families and friends after a year of being separated out of an abundance of caution for one another’s health. The warmth of longed-for embraces of loved ones will not be dampened by the tears of joy that accompany them. The radiant glow of broad smiles will reflect what we believe to the very depths of our souls. God’s love for us is never-ending. Our Savior lives!
Even amid our joyful celebration, we acknowledge the reality of another world where fear and despair cast a long shadow. The darkness of evil, hatred, bigotry, and indifference blocks the light of hope for all too many of our sisters and brothers, in our own country and around the world. On this Easter Sunday, they continue to be victimized by unjust systems and structures of racial, ethnic, economic, and religious prejudice. Their rights as citizens are being taken away from them by those who fear losing their privileged positions. They are denied their inalienable rights and otherwise routine blessings because they are in same-sex relationships or identify as LGBTQ. They are huddled in masses at the borders of freedom and denied entry. They are the homeless, the hungry, the marginalized of society, whose dream of a better future is always illusive. On Easter, they cry out for compassion, mercy, and understanding. Their energy is spent on mere survival; there is little left for them to join the chorus of voices singing the refrain, Our Savior lives.
How do we reconcile the different realities of our world as we observe this Easter? We who have been given the gift of faith know that there is nothing – neither sin nor sadness, nor doubt, neither war nor terror, nor abject indifference, not even a virus – which can dim the brilliance of what we celebrate today. Our joy and gladness will take on their true meaning when we respond in love to those who cry out from the shadows.
May our faith make us bold this day. May the Resurrection of Jesus Christ give us joy. God is with us – yesterday, today, and tomorrow. That is the message of hope we bring to the world. Let us rejoice and be glad, Our Savior lives!
May the blessings of this holy day sustain us as joyful disciples of Jesus Christ. Happy Easter!
– Dennis J. Yesalonia, S.J., Pastor