Resurrection: Movement from darkness to light

Resurrection: Movement from darkness to light April 2, 2024

Today we celebrate the victory of the light over darkness.  The victory of hope over despair.  The victory of life over death.

Many centuries ago, the first Easter Sunday began with profound grief and silence.  While still dark, the women got up very early, with their hearts quiet and heavy fully aware of the task they had to undertake that day.  They prepared the various ointments, and set off to the tomb where Jesus’ body had been placed two days before.  Grief and silence hovered over them, but they knew what they had to do.

Their sadness turned into confusion and anger when they saw the stone rolled away: “They have taken his body away, and we don’t know where they’ve put it!”

But then their confusion turned into an indescribable amazement at the announcement of the angels, “why do you seek the living among the dead?”  The women’s sadness and anger quickly turned into indescribable joy.

As the darkness of the early morning had given way to the light of the day as the sun rose, the darkness in the women’s hearts had been cast out with a light that never ends, the power of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This movement from darkness into light is the heart of what we call in the Church the Pascal Mystery: that after suffering and death, always comes newness of life.  No matter how dark the night may be, there is always a new hope which comes from a new day.

We have all personally experienced in our lives the presence of pain, suffering, and loss.  We are also painfully aware that oftentimes these come unsolicited or through no fault of our own… life, at times, can appear to be quite unfair.

For the past few days, I’ve had in my heart the men who died on the bridge at the entrance into Baltimore Harbor, as well as their families.  Here you have men who were doing honest work; working hard for their families and for a better future.  They had done no wrong, yet here came a ship that slammed into the bridge, and they lost their lives.

“Why would God allow something like this?” some may ask.  It is only natural to wonder this way when difficult moments come our way.  Our hearts would have to be made of stone not to feel pain and anguish.

I will never forget a family I met years ago, a mother whose baby was very, very ill.  For months, the baby was in and out of the intensive care unit in Augusta, and the baby just got worse as time went by.  Eventually, the baby died.  There were no words to console the grieving parents.  Where could light be found, when the darkness appeared to have taken over completely?

Hope was found in the Pascal Mystery of Jesus Christ.  He who did no wrong, was nailed to the cross.  He embraced pain and darkness, only to three days later, shatter it with the light of the Resurrection.

I remember pointing to the crucifix in the room as I sat with that mother and father, as they found hope in knowing that Jesus had suffered as they were suffering, and that it was possible to move into the light with confidence, even after the most difficult life experiences.

The fact that Jesus rose from the dead is the reason we can face tomorrow with hope, even when things are difficult.  The resurrection of Jesus teaches us that there is always a path forward, and that we can be given a new opportunity to get things right with God.

Our sins, or the difficulties of our lives, all find redemption in Jesus.

Every Easter we renew our baptismal promises where we reject Satan and sin, along with all the works of darkness, so that we can be filled with the light of Christ.  The Pascal Candle blessed during the Vigil stands as a reminder that the light of Christ always triumphs, and that we are called to follow it as we move forward in life, even through the challenges and the reality of our own sin.

We rejoice with the whole Church today, confident that after death comes life.  That the light always wins.

May Jesus give us the grace and strength to remain united to him, so we may find confidence and hope in Him each day, and that He will lead us to eternal life where we will live under His light forever.

"You used to be Christian. Stop acting like you don't know the Christian answer."

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