Easter Joy

By Rev. Jim Voiss, S.J., vice president of Mission and Ministry

It had been a tale of high expectations. Jesus, the charismatic teacher from Nazareth had brought healing and hope to the outcast and the lowly. He had stirred hearts to believe that God loved even the sinner, the leper, the tax collector and the prostitute. He spoke words of forgiveness to those lost in darkness. He called the dead back to life.

Then, after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, everything changed. Betrayal by a close friend. Arrest under cover of darkness. Abandoned by his disciples. A sham trial and condemnation. Humiliation before the crowds who now called for his death. Torture. Execution on a cross.

The hopes of so many had been dashed. The disciples cowered in fear. Darkness had won. The story was over.

So, it seemed to his followers.

But then, the strange reports. An empty tomb. Angels speaking the impossible. Mary Magdalene meets him near the tomb. The disciples from Emmaus converse with him on the way. He bypasses the locked doors to reveal himself to the Eleven in the upper room.

Astonished whispers grow into the joyous Easter shout:

The Lord is truly raised! Alleluia!

Throughout the centuries this proclamation has confirmed for believers that Christ has broken the power of sin and death. God’s faithful, redemptive love reaches even beyond the grave!

With this news, the story is not over, it has been changed. No longer a tale of disappointment, failure and defeat, the Easter Proclamation makes known the Glory of God, a glory that shines forth most powerfully when death gives way to new life—not just beyond the life of our bodies, but whenever places of darkness and sin give way to love, compassion, forgiveness and reconciliation.

May the joy of this Easter Proclamation place its blessing on all our days.