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Significance of defeating sin, evil and death
The risen Jesus gives us the ultimate assurance that victory belongs to God, belongs to life, love, freedom and justice. In the risen Christ, God is in control of our lives and destinies as the beginning and end of all things.
Sr. Rekha Chennattu, RA
"The resurrection of Jesus can be seen as a powerful protest against the evil that crucified Jesus"
The season of Easter celebrates the death of death and the birth of a new life in Christ. What does it mean to believe in the resurrection of Jesus and how do we live meaningfully this Easter season?
In John’s Gospel, Mary Magdalene is the first disciple to receive an appearance from the risen Jesus and to announce the good news of the resurrection. She is presented as an apostle to the apostles. At first, Mary does not recognize Jesus in the tomb, but Jesus’ calling Mary by her name enables her to identify Jesus, her master (20:16). Jesus then sends her to go to his disciples and announce, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (20:17c). Her love for Jesus is manifested in her endless seeking for Jesus.
It is her inner freedom and openness that gives her the courage to dialogue with the gardener and to recognize Jesus, her master (Rabbouni). Her commitment to the Lord is revealed in her prompt response to the command of Jesus. The experience of encountering the risen Jesus was a real and empowering experience for Mary Magdalene, which enabled her to proclaim the good news of the resurrection to the disciples: “I have seen the Lord” (20:18).
The resurrection is the raising of Jesus who had been put to death by evil, the raising of the crucified Jesus. It can, therefore, be seen as a powerful protest against the evil that crucified Jesus – the final death of death, and as the vindication of the life of love, freedom and justice that Jesus lived. It celebrates the birth of a new life and inaugurates the beginning of a new history.
"The risen Lord will give us the courage and wisdom to soar above the challenges of our daily life"
Our faith in the risen Christ invites us to recognize the on-going interventions of God through the various events of our daily life. The disciples, who were so frightened and ran away when Jesus was arrested, were filled with new hope and new strength after their personal encounter with the risen Lord, and they began to publicly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ without fear.
The risen Jesus gives us the ultimate assurance that victory belongs to God, belongs to life, love, freedom and justice. In the risen Christ, God is in control of our lives and destinies as the beginning and end of all things. As Easter people, we are called to live a life of hope, filled with joy and positive optimism about ourselves, our world and our future. This does not mean that all our problems and difficulties will disappear; it means that we don’t allow our problems to control us or wear us down; because we believe that the risen Lord has conquered everything, including death, and will give us the courage and wisdom to soar above the challenges of our daily life.
In sum, the new life of Easter requires the deepening of our faith and the renewal of our commitment. As St Paul says, we have to die with Christ to sin so that we can rise with him to new life (Rom 6:5-11). New life in Christ signifies defeating sin, evil and death on the one hand, and living in love and hope on the other. We celebrate Easter season meaningfully whenever we give up hatred and resentments and become more loving and forgiving.
We share in the power of the resurrection whenever we love again after the bond of relationship is broken. Every time when we try again with hope after having failed in life, we celebrate the victory of love and new life. May this season help us heal our brokenness, bridge alienation and bring about wholeness. God never abandons us. As the saying goes, human ways may lead to a hopeless end while God’s ways always lead to an endless hope.
"Whenever we give up hatred and resentments and become more loving and forgiving, we celebrate Easter"
(Dr. Rekha M. Chennattu is Professor of New Testament and lectures on biblical themes (exegesis, theology and spirituality) and has published books and more than 100 articles in India and abroad. She is currently the Provincial Superior of the Assumption Sisters (India) and a Member of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conference – Office of Theological Concerns (FABC-OTC))
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