He is risen!
As it says in the hymn, “Up from the grave He arose!”
The dark silence, the decay and rot of the tomb, have been turned on their heads. They are now the song of everlasting life.
We are not destined for the grave. We are not bound by earthly loyalties. We are inhabitants of this earth, members of our various communities, and citizens of our many nations. But first, before anything else, we are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven.
We are inheritors of eternal life. Every one of us is an eternal being, and because of what Jesus did this Holy Week, we can chose to call heaven our eternal home.
St Paul said it better than I can:
Christ has indeed been risen from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. … for in Christ all will be made alive. … Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin … But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
We are Easter people. We serve a Risen Lord and our eternity begins now, in this world, as we serve Him.
Let me repeat that.
We choose to follow Christ or to follow one of the little g gods of this world. Hell is not a punishment. It is a choice, and a choice freely made by tens of millions of self-besotted people who say no to eternal happiness and choose — freely choose of their own wills — to spend eternity in hell.
We decide. We choose. Each one of us makes his or her own choice. We choose Christ. Or we don’t.
The choice is ours. The consequences are ours, as well.
On this Easter Sunday, Jesus asks us to “bring me all the devout and faithful souls” in prayer. He told St Faustina that “these souls brought me consolation on the Way to the Cross.”
Think on that for a moment. When I survey the cross, I usually find myself on my knees in humility and repentance for my sins. I am like the tax collector who could not raise his eyes to the altar but could only say “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
But Jesus Himself gave St Faustina the message that thinking of faithful souls — those who try to follow Him through life’s trials, no matter what — comforted Him on his way to Calvary. You and I and our tattered bits of faithfulness comforted Him when He walked the via dolorosa.
That is what love does, even love so imperfect as ours. Love heals. Love encourages. Love raises up courage and hope where there was once only desolation.
The Divine Mercy is Jesus’ love — His perfect and ecstatic love — offered to us as a free gift of mercy. His mercy is unbounding. The smallest speck of repentance from us, and He will shower us with an ocean of sweet mercy and love.
We do not have to be perfect to come to Jesus. We do not even have to stop sinning. All we have to do is say “Yes” to His mercy. He will accept us, as the hymn says, just as we are. Then, if we let Him love us and accept His Lordship, He will change us slowly and gently into who we were meant to be when He created us.
Jesus doesn’t change the things we do. He changes the things we want to do.
The Kingdom of Heaven and the conversion of the world rise with the leaven of faithful souls who trust, love and follow Jesus.
Today, let’s pray the Third Day of the Divine Mercy Novena and bring these faithful souls to our Lord and Savior.
“Today bring to Me all Devout and Faithful Souls,
and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. These souls brought me consolation on the Way of the Cross. They were a drop of consolation in the midst of an ocean of bitterness.”
Most Merciful Jesus, from the treasury of Your mercy, You impart Your graces in great abundance to each and all. Receive us into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart and never let us escape from It. We beg this grace of You by that most wondrous love for the heavenly Father with which Your Heart burns so fiercely.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon faithful souls, as upon the inheritance of Your Son. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, grant them Your blessing and surround them with Your constant protection. Thus may they never fail in love or lose the treasure of the holy faith, but rather, with all the hosts of Angels and Saints, may they glorify Your boundless mercy for endless ages. Amen.