Sunday, April 5, 2015

Jesus Christ is Risen!

Easter Sunday 2015:

Easter Sunday 2015

By Deacon Lawrence N. Kaas
April 5, 2015

Jesus Christ is risen! This means that life takes on a new horizon. Have you ever thought of yourself as immortal? Have you ever considered that you have "forever" to live? The resurrection from the death of Jesus casts a new light on our human existence. No longer are we bound by finite ends. Our life has an all new endless and brilliant horizon, and we come to share in this new resurrected and glorious horizon gifted us by Christ Jesus through our baptism.

In baptism, we are born into the resurrected life of Jesus Christ, a life that knows no end, no boundaries. Death has no more hold on us. Yes, we still died, but that is not the end of our life. For not only will our souls live on past our death, but our bodies and souls will be reunited and resurrected from the grave on to the glory that we have already seen in Jesus the firstborn of the dead. With this faith, we come to find that urgencies and anxieties that death can put upon our desires for a life come to fade to nothingness as we now see that we have a "forever" to existence---meaning, for all that we could ever yearn.

Sin, likewise, loses its tempting appeal. Sins' allure, makes us believe that it can fulfill our every need in the here and now, and that there will be no greater opportunity to be so fulfilled in the future. The resurrection of Christ Jesus shows us the folly of this allure, unraveling its false logic. The resurrection shows us the opportunity for an endless future of glory and fulfillment, and that the present is not the only opportunity we ever have to satiate our desires. For there is truly a great and majestic glory that awaits all who persevere in Christ Jesus, and with faith, put their hope and a future filled with all the love one could ever desire.

The resurrection gives us our freedom to decide our life's direction, unencumbered by the insidious snares of the devil. The death of Jesus-- just like the death of those who have gone on before us, and who fought so that we may have freedom-- bestows a great and inevitable dignity on our liberty to make choices in regards the direction of our life. It begs the question: "what do we use our freedom for, that was purchased at such a great price?" Furthermore, the resurrection of Christ shows us a great light to guide us in our choices. It shows us a glimmer of the glory that awaits when we use our freedom to embrace, not the fading allurements of the present but an endless glory of resplendent beauty in the future.

The glory of Easter is a future glory. It calls us to wait for fulfillment, to use our freedom to choose the greatest good-- a good that lies not in any temptation before our eyes at present, but for a beauty that can only be attained through holy patient. Easter freedom is a freedom for a better tomorrow. It is, therefore, as an Easter people-- by virtue of our baptism, and nourished in the sacred food of the Eucharist that we journey and live, not for today but for the beauty that awaits!

One last final reflection: Thank God for Easter. We don't have scientific evidence for life beyond the grave, but we do have historical evidence. The respected theologian and author, Wolfhart Pannenberg once said, "the evidence for Jesus' resurrection is so strong that nobody would question it except for two things: first, it is a very unusual event. And second, if you believe that it happened, you have to change the way you live."

He's right, of course. The testimony of those who experienced Jesus' resurrection is so compelling that the only real reason a person might reject it is that it might require them to make a change in how they are living. That too is right, of course, of those who reject this knowledge. It is sad, but they are free to reject the good news of Easter if they so choose. As for me, and, I suspect for you, we will leave this church with "hallelujah" ringing in our ears and in our hearts. Jesus is alive, and because he lives we shall live, too. Easter is Gods light beaming into a dark, dark world. Because Jesus lives, the world is brighter than it has ever been before.

So you all be Good, be Holy, preach the Gospel always using words and holy actions.

'Thank you' to Deacon Kaas, for letting me post his reflection here.

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