To help us understand Easter better, it helps to reflect on a few “What if” questions.
What if… there was no forgiveness of sins? If we committed serious sin, we were forever stuck in our guilt. Imagine how depressed Peter would have been if, after denying Christ, he could never be forgiven for that.
What if… there was a heaven, but after the fall of Adam and Eve the gates were barred to all? No hope of eternal life. When a person died, that was it. Death would have the final word.
What if…all human suffering was in vain? Had no meaning. It was all just a waste of time.
What if…there was no real purpose in living? We had no real mission or goal.
How terrible life would be if there were no forgiveness, no hope of eternal life, no meaning to suffering and no purpose in living.
Because Christ died and rose from the dead, because of Calvary and Easter, there is forgiveness. Christ nailed our sins to the cross, and in his resurrection conquered the power of sin.
Because Christ died and rose from the dead, death no longer has the last word. We have hope of eternal joy with God. As St. Paul wrote, “O death where is your victory, where is your sting? (1 Corinthians 15:55)
Because Christ died and rose from the dead, all our suffering has tremendous meaning. We are baptized into the living Christ. Our suffering is his suffering and he never suffers in vain.
Because Christ died and rose from the dead, there is a sublime purpose to our lives. We are here so that Christ can live in us, work through us, manifest himself through us, do his work through us and love through us.
Easter means we have forgiveness, hope, purpose and meaning.
No wonder St. Augustine proclaimed that “We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song!”
Fr. Alan Phillip, C.P. is a member of the Passionist Community at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California. http://www.alanphillipcp.com/