By F. Jesús Fernández, President of Institut Id of Christ the Redeemer Idente Missionaries
Excerpts from the Easter homily of Resurrection
The whole Paschal Mystery of Christ consisted in an itinerary of returning to the Father, from His birth till His death on the cross, His resurrection, and finally, His ascension into heaven. The cross was therefore not the end for Christ, but His return to the Right Hand of the Father, to the fullness of glory.
The Resurrection is a sign of life. Christ had said: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” (Jn 14:6) Life does not arise from noise, but from the silence of prayer. Today’s society, with its crises and its signs of death, more than ever needs clear announcements of life and resurrection. Today advertising creates the desire to have: to enjoy, to control, to order others around, to be happy, to earn money, etc. Whoever doesn’t have something doesn’t count. Whoever wants to have and can’t is a failure. This is the message, the advertising. But Christ, with His resurrection, announces another horizon of strength, of struggle, but with peace and serenity. Strength lies in the truth, not in appearances. The message of Christ with His resurrection is a message of a new life of honesty, transparency and responsibility.
The resurrection of Christ, conquerer of death, is His great victory: “I have overcome the world.” (Jn 16:33) That is the truth. Lying, the lack of honesty, and injustice have no future. Only love and transparency can go forward toward the future without fear if we let ourselves be permeated by the love of the Father Who never deceives us.
The disciples found the risen Christ in the community, recalling His words, “wherever two or more are gathered in My Name, there am I in their midst.” (Mt 18:20) This means that they found Him in prayer, in the Eucharist and in the reading of the Word, always keeping in mind that Christ is the Good Shepherd Who gathers His flock.
What happens before the empty tomb? Each one communicates to the other the little or the much that he or she has seen, and together they obtain the light they need to overcome the grave difficulties that are never lacking, or the situations that create confusion and disconcert us. Christ becomes visible when we move and when we communicate, not when we are alone, quiet, concerned about what we think is most important, about what we believe to be our rights and our liberties, stripping and weakening the freedoms of others.
When do we perceive that the risen Christ is in our daily life? Each time we resolve our conflicts in the light of the Gospel, when we sincerely live the spirit breathed by each word of the Gospel, and especially when we recognize our human miseries and our sins, when we truly love one another and we forgive one another wholeheartedly. Those who do not love cannot forgive. In love and in forgiveness, which is the most sublime level of love, the risen Christ is found. The sign that Christ has risen is that there are many acts of goodness and holiness in the world. If we live as Christ loved us, our vision of the world would change radically.
Twenty centuries have passed, and the crucial thing is to “listen” in the deepest part of our hearts; to listen to the voice of Christ, risen and alive in our hearts, in the Church, in the Institution, in our communities. He is the voice of our Faith and our Hope.
The risen Christ is pure sanctifying grace that overcomes, within us, all malice or any unhealthy intention. The risen Christ never abandons us, either in suffering or in death. He really accompanies us in our passing from this valley of tears to the Heavenly Jerusalem. Death is not the end; only life and resurrection have the last word. We must depend on and trust in the Gospel with a strong faith that is like a rock, because this donum fidei (gift of faith) depends on a stronger someone who grants the strength. We are speaking of trusting Christ, of having confidence in Him, because He is our rock and our salvation, as the Scripture tells us (Ps 62:7).
With the walls of our pride of spirit, which is the cause of all evils, it is impossible for us to express ourselves to Christ and our neighbor with affection and fondness. We may often believe that we are speaking with Christ, but if we remain behind that wall, we cannot hear or discern His voice, and so our heart remains very far from the experience of His mercy.
We need help, and we need to listen to the words of Christ to the Samaritan woman at the well of Sychar: “Give me a drink of water.” (Jn4:7) The entire dialogue begins with the water of our baptism that is transformed into sanctifying grace in our spirit. Is this water stagnant in our heart, so that it issues forth cloudy, allowing us to see in Christ only strong or hard words about important problems in life? And yet, Christ comes to you and to me with tenderness, with affection, with gentleness, with an extraordinary light. When we read and live the Gospel, our cloudy water, filled with dust and mud, begins to move toward the truth and toward the true life who is Christ Himself. It is being changed into living water that wells up to Eternal Life.
This living water, sparkling clean, that issues from the well of our soul, makes a leap toward a love that does not deceive, the very Heart of Christ, who loves me as I am now, with my defects and my weaknesses. The Eucharist is this water that forms part of our resurrection—in process—while we journey through this life. This resurrection in process is expressed by Christ in different ways, for example, in His conversation with Nicodemus (Jn 3:1-21), when Christ says to him: “You have to be born again each day.”