Easter: the Source of Our Hope
I still remember the testimony of a Polish priest. At the time of communist rule, he was nailed to the door of the church because of his faith in Jesus Christ and he prefered to not deny his faith that Jesus was alive. In addition, there are many people who willingly were tortured and killed (for example, the martyrs in China, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, etc.). Why? Because they recognized the risen Christ. Thus, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of all our faith. Thus, the Credo say we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was born of the Virgin Mary who suffered, died, and rose again the third day.
Then, from so many witnesses whose lives were changed because they have experienced Jesus themselves, we can truly acknowledge Jesus is risen.
Why do we have to belief?
What does it profit us if Jesus has risen? This is precisely the key of all. Why? What are the consequences? As it is said in the Gospel of John "all who received him of his right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name" (John 1:12). You all who believe in Him are authorized to become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Thus, in the Gospel of John also says "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). These are the stakes: the eternal life. "I believe in Jesus" was not just believe because I believe or do not believe, but it has an enormous stake, which is the eternal life. If I believe, then I will have the eternal life. Believe also means living according to our belief.
Then, this resurrected Jesus ascended into heaven, returning to the Father, and from there he sent the Holy Spirit whom we celebrate at the Pentecost. What Jesus had done for us the passion, his death, and the resurrection, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, graces obtained, the forgiveness of sins, are the beginning of something bigger, that of eternal life. The eternal life is ours, it belongs to you because you believe. That's what gives hope and meaning for us.
Therefore, as it says in the Gospel, Jesus received the fullness of grace and mercy, full of truth. Jesus as a man is said to receive the fullness of God:
"The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory given to Him as the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. ['...] Because of his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace; For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ " (John 1: 14.16).
We know that Jesus was both God and man. He is one hundred percent God and one hundred percent human. So, Jesus is not only a human and not just God. Therefore, the first Adam was disobedient to God, now Jesus as a man representing the whole of mankind, obeyed ─ even obedient till death ─ and therefore He had been risen. So, He received the fullness of grace and of His fullness we are all ─ you and I ─ receive grace upon grace, by believing in Jesus.
What does it mean to believe? It means to accept Him as our Lord, to enter into a personal relationship with God. Through the personal relationship we will receive grace after grace, we receive eternal life, if we accept Christ, the eternal life already begun in this world, though not full, but it is very real.
That's what makes people dare to leave everything for Jesus. In ancient times a lot of prominent people, such as nobles, also the king's son, and so on, left everything to follow Jesus, and some had become sisters, priests, monks and nuns. They left their high position and rank as nobles in the community and wanted to live a simple life as monks and nuns.
A few years ago in Australia there was a young woman chosen as Miss Australia. Of course, if chosen as a Miss Australia must be beautiful, praised, and so forth. However, sometime later something surprising and shocking happened. Suddenly, there were news that (somehow) Miss Australia was entering the convent of Carmelites nuns (which actually the nuns "never come out"). There were many various reactions and questions, "Why? Why? "In fact, as Miss Australia, of course, many men in high places wanted to marry her. Strange, that she entered the cloistered Carmelites monastery. People thought she was crazy and stuff. However, for the Miss Australia herself, she has found the true lover, namely Jesus Christ. How is it possible? We do not know. In history sometimes things happen like that because Jesus Christ was logically cannot be understood. People think "Ah, it's stupid," but we understand Miss Australia has found the true lover who is not only in this world, but up in the world to come.
Not everyone is called to a life like that (religious life), but all are called to believe in Jesus and to have a personal relationship with Him. Is not this amazing? Thus, the risen Jesus that is the hope we, as the risen Jesus, as Paul says, "might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Rm 8:29).
With Jesus one day we will be resurrected and we all will receive the same body, but which has been glorified, perfected. For example, if you now wear glasses then there is no longer glasses needed, all the defects are disappeared, and so on. How is a glorified body? We also do not know exactly. If you want to know exactly, wait and see. However, we see the nature of that glorious body has been different, they are not bound by the laws of the world. For example (the body) of the risen Jesus. There was a time when his disciples were confused whether it was a ghost, spirit, or Jesus. Jesus asked if they had some food and he ate (cf. Luke 24: 41-43). However, he could go in a closed room (cf. Lk 24:36). We are now in our bodies yeah ... cannot get into a closed room. Glorious body, unlike the body in the world, Jesus could go through the closed door and so on because the laws in force in the world is no longer valid. Glorious body is superior of all of it.
We all hope that someday we will rise with glorified bodies. The resurrected Jesus was a source of hope for us all. Indeed, if we die, our bodies are buried and will be destroyed, but with God nothing is impossible. He will raise us and then later be united with our soul in glory. That is what we hope for. However, those who reject Jesus, those who live in sin and do not repent, will rise as well, but to be punished, also their bodies will undergo punishment.
So, "Jesus rose” is the whole basis of our faith. Because we believe Jesus was risen, then our life become meaningful. The resurrection of Jesus gives meaning and strength in our struggle of our lives.