Several years ago, The Saturday Evening Post ran a cartoon showing a man about to be rescued after he had spent a long time ship-wrecked on a tiny deserted island.
The sailor in charge of the rescue team stepped onto the beach and handed the man a stack of newspapers. 'Compliments of the Captain,' the sailor said. 'He would like you to glance at the headlines to see if you'd still like to be rescued!'
Sometimes the headlines do scare us. Many times life frightens us. At times we feel that evil is winning.
But here comes Easter, to remind us that there is no grave deep enough, no seal imposing enough, no stone heavy enough, no evil strong enough to keep Christ in the grave.
In Him we are victorious. This is a tremendous good news for us who many times lose out in life.
We live in a society that constantly shouts at us : 'you are no good, you are ugly, you are a nobody - unless you prove the opposite!'
These voices are so loud and so persistent that it is easy to believe in them.
The greatest trap in life is the trap of self rejection!
I am constantly surprised at how easily I give in to this temptation. As soon as someone accuses me, criticizes me, as soon as I feel left aside, alone, abandoned, my dark side immediately jumps in and retorts, 'Well! That proves once more that you are a nobody! You deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected!"
"When I was feeling down, someone told me, 'cheer up, things could get worse.' So I cheered up - and they did, things got worse!" Perhaps the person who said this, was joking. But it is so true!
Empty words do not help us. Good advice much less. We need facts. Facts that can convince us that life can be otherwise.
This is why Easter is so vital. Because the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a fact. A historical event which proves that life can be different!
Here is a man, born of a woman, who fought a battle against our common enemy. The devil won and managed to pull Jesus down in the kingdom of darkness.
But in there Jesus Christ staged a comeback and trashed the devil. And He came out of the tomb victorious, carrying a flag on which was written only one word NIKE - Victory!
He come out of the grave as a mighty conqueror.
And now risen, He can and He wants to transmit His resurrected power to us. So that in Him we can become invincible!
His resurrection deafens all these negative voices inside us. Another voice resounds in us, even louder... a voice which says, "You - yes, you! - are my son, the beloved!"
You have been intimately loved long before your parents, or children, teacher, spouse, friends ever loved you
You are so precious to me that not only I died for you but I rose from death for you. A breach has been opened in the walls which were suffocating you. Now you can live a life where the sting of death cannot hurt you any more.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ comes to convince us with power that the it was a Father, a good and mighty Father, who molded us in the womb of our mother. It was He who carved us in the palms of his hands. He even counts every single hair of our head. He guides us at every step.
God is our Father and Mother, our brother and sister, our lover and our spouse.
Wherever we are, He will be. Nothing can separate us from His love.
We do not even need to shape up to merit His love. He loves us. Period.
All this, and more, is what the resurrection of Jesus Christ tells us.
This is why Fathers of the Church are so exuberant when they speak of this 'feast of feasts'.
"A delightful Pasch! Today Christ has come out from the grave as radiant as He would come out from the bridal chamber..."
"Totally triumphant, He crushed death with His death, restoring to us everlasting life...''
"Christ is risen and hell is overthrown. Christ is risen and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen and life reigns..."
The time of weeping is over, Now is a time of joy. Let us celebrate Easter with the rite of laughter!
Laugh now as you have never laughed before!
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.