The Risen Lord walks beside us on our path to eternity


O God You “have conquered death and unlocked for us the path to eternity.”
Thus we praise God in the opening prayer of the Mass for the solemnity of Easter. After our 40 days of Lent and meditating upon the mysteries of the Lord’s Passion in Holy Week, we come to the glorious celebration of His resurrection. We will celebrate the truth of the Lord’s triumph over sin and death for eight days. And in a sense, this extended “conclusion” to Lent and Holy Week brings us back to the beginning — the beginning of the Lord’s ministry and that of our own Baptism into His grace.
At the outset of Jesus’ ministry, He announces that the Reign of God has drawn near — near to our world and near to our hearts. It is testimony to the presence and action of God in our midst. It heralds the fulfillment of all of God’s promises and covenants. If there is a surprise in this moment it is that the Reign of God becomes visible in the person of Jesus, Who is the Kingdom, the revelation of the heart of the Father.
Looking back at that beginning through the prism of the Lord’s self offering on the cross, we begin to understand the depth of God’s purpose. Back in a garden, we perceive the loving, creating force of God once again at work as it was “in the beginning” (John 1:1). In the Christ, God has begun the renewal of all creation and of the human heart, a heart now defined for all time by “the Word made flesh,” Jesus.
I suppose it is sometimes easier for us to comprehend the reality of the suffering and death that we contemplate on Good Friday and harder for us to imagine the Resurrection. What can it mean to live for all eternity with God, how do we envision that which lies beyond our sight? Perhaps an answer is found in the truth that Jesus did not announce only a kingdom to come. He announced the presence of that kingdom here and now! Where the Lord is found, there is the renewal and new life of the kingdom.
Consider the witness of the saints, men and women who came to know the Lord and to live in joy and hope. Many experienced struggle, suffering, and even death. All the while they radiated the transforming and renewing power of God. Like them, you and I were born again on the day of our baptism. On that day we became His and He became ours.
Know this, when you come to the Mass on Easter Sunday, the Lord will be there, truly risen from the dead. He longs to draw near to your heart and fill you with the joy that He alone can give. Remind yourself on that day that the kingdom is “here and now!” It will not end all your troubles, but it will fill you with hope. We are not yet in heaven, but as that opening prayer states, we are on “the path to eternity,” and the Risen Lord walks beside us. He is risen, he is truly risen! Alleluia!
A blessed Easter feast and season to you and yours!