There is a danger in troubled times to become “imprisoned by pessimism,” Pope Francis once said. Amid the darkness of man-made conflicts our reflex is to be subdued by fear, disabled by gloom or consumed by anger. But Easter calls us to rise above these burdens and proclaim the joy and hope of the Resurrection.
Hope is not optional for Christians. It is essential to the belief that Christ died and rose from the tomb to save mankind so that someday we will be resurrected with Him.
Easter celebrates the hope of eternal life. It is a time of joy, a time to realize that “a Christian can never be sad,” said Francis.
“Christ’s cross embraced with love does not lead to sadness, but to joy,” he said.
We may be powerless to end the violence and cruelty that infects much of the world, but Easter tells Christians to be beacons of hope and peace in their homes, workplaces and communities. The world population of Catholics is 1.28 billion, according to the latest Vatican census. That represents a sizeable force to bear witness by their daily lives to non-violence, mercy, forgiveness and prayer — as the apostles did in heeding Christ’s call after the Resurrection to go forth and spread His word.
This doesn’t necessarily require grand actions. The message of Easter can be transmitted by a kind word, a sincere smile or a simple gesture. Hope can be as straightforward as engaging in an act of generosity or caring or mercy. It is often as simple as being truthful, compassionate and, above all, joyful.
The passion, death and Resurrection of Jesus is proof that hopelessness can be overcome. Jesus endured unspeakable violence and degradation. For His followers, His death and the betrayals that preceded it seemed to herald the end of hope. But His Resurrection on the third day proved they were horribly wrong. Easter proclaims that hope can not be locked in a tomb.
When Jesus rolled away the stone He defeated darkness and despair. He gave us God’s gift of hope for eternal life. That is what we joyfully celebrate at Easter.
We are called to spread that hope. To never be imprisoned by doubt and pessimism, but to shed Christ’s light on the world. To go forth as joyful Christians so that the message of Easter can penetrate the many hearts that are darkened by misery and anger.
Christ is risen. Be joyful and be hopeful.
From all of us at The Catholic Register, Happy Easter.