We have just celebrated Easter, our greatest celebration. All the despair and defeat of Good Friday is over. Something unexpected has happened and all of a sudden life looks very different. The resurrection is a promise of new life. Jesus’ resurrection brings us closer to God and our faith. When we look at the cross, we can begin to understand the greatness of His love for us. He wants only the best for us, but we need to go to Him, listen for His voice.
“It was about twelve o’clock when the sun stopped shining and darkness covered the whole country until three o’clock and the curtain hanging in the Temple was torn in two. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father! Into your hands I place my spirit!” He said this and died”. [Luke 23:46]
Nothing could have been more crushing to the disciples than the death of Jesus. He was their friend, their leader and their teacher. They had abandoned everything to follow Him. They felt like they had nowhere to turn.
There are often times in life when we think that nothing good will come out of a situation. I think I know how the disciples must have felt. I have felt like that sometimes – so despairing and so alone; feeling like I am a rudderless boat, powerless and without hope. And then, just like the miracle on that first Easter morning, I can see Jesus. Jesus is always there. Jesus knows what we are suffering; He feels our pain; after all, he died on the cross.
We think of the experience Easter had on Peter, the one who denied any knowledge of Jesus. Easter changed Peter from a very frightened man into a fearless preacher. We too can have hope this Easter that things will be alright and that all that is currently happening is all part of God’s plan for us.
Things will get better. All we have to do is to answer Jesus and offer ourselves in prayer. Another way of thinking about this is to see every day as Easter, because every day, the risen Christ is with us, so we get the opportunity to embrace each new day with confidence and hope, because, “Anyone who knows Easter cannot despair.” [Dietrich Bonhoerffer]
When we think of the situation in the Ukraine right now, or the plight of the displaced people or of the homeless or of the abused, we may feel that God is not with us. They too, can feel united with the crucified Christ and be confident that Jesus is with them. We pray that the light of Easter will bring peace and resolution to Ukraine and that world leaders will experience these Easter days like Peter, opening their hearts and minds and boldly live out God’s Word.
Nuala O’ Flaherty, is a former teacher of Saint Brigid’s College, Carnhill and a Parishioner of Our Lady of Lourdes, Steelstown, Derry.
Image © Colum Ferry Photography