Thought for the Day – 12 April – Thursday of the Second Week of Eastertide
The Resurrection of the Lord is Our Hope
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Rome and throughout the world,
From the depths of my heart, I wish all of you a blessed Easter. To quote Saint Augustine, “Resurrectio Domini, spes nostra – the resurrection of the Lord is our hope” (Sermon 261:1). With these words, the great Bishop explained to the faithful that Jesus rose again so that we, though destined to die, should not despair, worrying that with death life is completely finished; Christ is risen to give us hope (cf. ibid.).
Indeed, one of the questions that most preoccupies men and women is this: what is there after death? To this mystery today´s solemnity allows us to respond that death does not have the last word because Life will be victorious at the end. This certainty of ours is based not on simple human reasoning but on a historical fact of faith: Jesus Christ, crucified and buried, is risen with His glorified body. Jesus is risen so that we too, believing in Him, may have eternal life. This proclamation is at the heart of the Gospel message. As Saint Paul vigorously declares: “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” He goes on to say: “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied” (1 Cor 15:14,19). Ever since the dawn of Easter a new Spring of hope has filled the world; from that day forward our resurrection has begun because Easter does not simply signal a moment in history but the beginning of a new condition: Jesus is risen not because His memory remains alive in the hearts of His disciples but because He Himself lives in us and in Him we can already savour the joy of eternal life.
The resurrection, then, is not a theory but a historical reality revealed by the man Jesus Christ by means of His “Passover”, His “passage”, that has opened a “new way” between heaven and earth (cf. Heb 10:20). It is neither a myth nor a dream, it is not a vision or a utopia, it is not a fairy tale but it is a singular and unrepeatable event: Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary, who at dusk on Friday was taken down from the Cross and buried, has victoriously left the tomb. In fact, at dawn on the first day after the Sabbath, Peter and John found the tomb empty. Mary Magdalene and the other women encountered the risen Jesus. On the way to Emmaus the two disciples recognised Him at the breaking of the bread. The Risen One appeared to the Apostles that evening in the Upper Room and then to many other disciples in Galilee.
If it is true that death no longer has power over man and over the world, there still remain very many, in fact too many signs of its former dominion. Even if through Easter, Christ has destroyed the root of evil, He still wants the assistance of men and women in every time and place who help Him to affirm His victory using His own weapons: the weapons of justice and truth, mercy, forgiveness and love.
Pope Benedict XVI – 13 April 2009 (Excerpt)