Archive for Thursday, April 5, 2007

Letter: Easter — The feast of faith

April 5, 2007

The two great feasts that anchor the Christian church are Christmas and Easter. Of the two, Christmas is the more psychologically available feast, because everyone has seen or touched a newborn baby; however no one today has seen or touched a risen body. It takes faith to recognize the eternal Son of God in a baby; but it takes greater faith to believe the witnesses from 2000 years ago that Jesus is risen.

To be a Christian one must be baptized and profess faith. The care of that faith, given as a gift, is belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the tomb.

The climax of Easter is "Christ is risen!" The God who is Lord of the Universe, the personal God who created and sustains our world, the God who saves us through the passion, deaths, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, seeks to be the center of each and every human life.

In the resurrection of Jesus there is a unique divine intervention in the history of the world, at a specific time and place. Without faith, such a divine intervention makes no sense.

The resurrection of Jesus is like a startling light. When a very bright light shines in our face, we blink. We close our eyes. The light is still there, but our eyes reject it because it is too much for them.

On the first Easter day, the apostles and close friends of Jesus blinked. It took a while to recognize him and to realize what had happened.

The tomb was empty and Jesus appeared. He instructed the apostles to witness what God had done in human history.

Jesus rose bodily from the dead. His whole person is with God, but he is still in contact with the world, with each of us. Jesus is with the Father and the Holy Spirit, but he is constantly acting on us in the world.

What we proclaim in faith at Easter is captured in a few words in the scene from the Gospel according to St. John (Jn 21:1-7). It was in Galilee. The apostles were fishing, and Jesus appeared on the shore of the lake. They did not recognize him immediately from their boat. Only when they had followed his instructions and their nets were breaking did the beloved disciple turn and say to Peter: "It is the Lord!"

So do we say to one another this Easter with the disciples of all ages: "It is the Lord. He is risen, Alleluia."

May each of you have a blessed Easter.

The Rev. Norbert Lickteig

Topeka

Former pastor at Holy Family

Catholic Church, Eudora

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