Let us never forget the hope we have in the Resurrection.
In the midst of unprecedented times and worldwide pandemic, we are faced with challenges and changes that cause fear, anxiety, and grief. These reactions are warranted and natural, but we should not lose sight of the hope we have in God’s love and mercy. We must trust his plan. As we experience this Easter season of social distance, we should focus on renewing our hope and witnessing to the joy of the Resurrection and spread the love and peace it promises.
Pope Francis reminded us of this hope during his Urbi et Orbi blessing on Friday, March 27, saying, “The Lord asks us and, in the midst of our tempest, invites us to reawaken and put into practice that solidarity and hope capable of giving strength, support and meaning to these hours when everything seems to be floundering. The Lord awakens so as to reawaken and revive our Easter faith.” As Catholics and a global Church, our hope in the Resurrection and our salvation should surpass our temporal uncertainty and fear.
Continuing, Pope Francis affirmed Christ’s closeness and redeeming love: “We have an anchor: by his cross we have been saved. We have a rudder: by his cross we have been redeemed. We have a hope: by his cross we have been healed and embraced so that nothing and no one can separate us from his redeeming love. In the midst of isolation when we are suffering from a lack of tenderness and chances to meet up, and we experience the loss of so many things, let us once again listen to the proclamation that saves us: he is risen and is living by our side.” In the Resurrection, we are saved and can turn to this hope in good and bad times.
We are dealing with the cross of the coronavirus pandemic — all are affected, if not afflicted. This time, when life as usual is on hold, we should center on what never changes: the life we have in Christ. As Pope Francis shared, “The Lord asks us from his cross to rediscover the life that awaits us, to look towards those who look to us, to strengthen, recognize and foster the grace that lives within us. Let us not quench the wavering flame (cf. Is 42:3) that never falters, and let us allow hope to be rekindled.” So renew hope and seek strength in Christ’s cross.
As we continue to journey through this Easter season, let us use Pope Francis’ encouraging words and Scripture to center our hearts on hope. These scripture passages can be used to prompt reflections on the hope we have — now and forever — in the Resurrection.
1. The Death and Resurrection of Lazarus (John 11:25-26): “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Reflect: This is the promise of Jesus’ life, death, and Resurrection: eternal life beyond earthly death. Do I believe this, even when I’m tempted to doubt God’s plan in trying times such as these?
2. Believers Are Dead to Sin, Alive to God (Romans 6:3-5): “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”
Reflect: Made in the image and likeness of God, we are baptized and born into the hope of the Resurrection, life after death. Do I live with this conviction in my daily life?
3. The Order of the Resurrection ((1 Corinthians 15:20): “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.”
Reflect: As mortals, our time here on earth is temporary — and everything it brings with it. Do I consider my life and its events in this context?
4. The Mystery of the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:54-57): “When this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Reflect: The Resurrection is a victory. Through it, Christ defeated sin and death. In my prayers, do I remember to thank God for the gift of eternal life?
5. A Living Hope, and a Sure Salvation (1 Peter 1:3-5): “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Reflect: We all have a place reserved for us in heaven, but we must live a life deserving of it. Do I live with this heavenly seat as my final destination and primary goal?
This Easter season, we are called to live with hope. As the world is shaken by pandemic and comes together to suppress it, we share the hope of the Resurrection. It isn’t easy, with so many unknowns ahead, but we can always trust and find peace in the promise of eternal life.
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One of the simplest yet most profound challenges Christ issued to His Church was spoken in these words: “unless you become as little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven (Mt. 18:
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