The greatest gift made by Christ to people of every time and place is that of his own life, of eternal life, of being his brothers. By mounting the wood of the cross and yielding himself to death by crucifixion, Christ descended into the very depths of human sorrow, encountering death and vanquishing it. Thanks to his death, undertaken once for all for love of all, Jesus has ensured that death is no longer a wall with which, soon or later, comes the impact. Instead it a door thrown open that leads to the Father, beckoning to that lace He has prepared for each one of us.
We are called on Easter Day to reflect on where faith finds its place in our lives. The Resurrection is not ‘merely’ a truth to be believed, part of a ‘package’ of dogmas; it becomes rather the perspective from which we look at all life and the lens through which we regard the world, that which gives meaning to our lives. If we think of it, it is the fact that life is eternal that gives value to our dedication in helping our neighbours, the weak and the suffering. In the light of the Resurrection of Jesus, the people who are about us today are not just there by happenstance or a casual occurrence in our lives, but are brothers whom we will have side by side in the Kingdom of Heaven, those concerning whom Christ will ask of us an account of our dealings. Salvation then cannot be individualistic, a matter o be achieved in competition with others. It is instead a common journey upon which we must support and help one another along. Because we are all, without exception, destined for eternity, it is good to help the poor here and now. If there were no resurrection and life were for this world only, they might have appoint those who care only about themselves, who give selfishly; if everything must end, there is no use in worrying yourself about another who soon enough will no longer be around. But if Christ is risen and we with him, every person is a brother or sister to be accompanied to the Father’s house and to be loved here and now.
The eternal life that Jesus gives us is the most precious gift that we have, and we cannot keep it to ourselves. Everyone must know and experience the possibility of having a part in this gift. This is the reason for the many invitations the Church has always made to the mission, and so powerfully of late in the words of Pope Francis. What doe sit really mean to be a missionary? Is it to proselytise? Is it to make our ‘group’ bigger? No, this cannot be, obviously, for it is simply out of love that we act. We have received a gift of love from Jesus, a gist of love that we are called to bring to others. We are called to be missionaries because we have something of fundamental importance to give. Mission is born from Resurrection, not as a oral imperative but as a consequence of the love received from Christ and shared amongst the Christian community in the Church.
How important it is not to waste this gift but to deepen it, to come to know it, to rediscover it, and for this the Sunday is essential. It is the Easter of every week, in which we give thanks to Christ in Holy Mass together with our brothers and sisters for his unique gift and prepare for the week to come with a spirit of missionary love.
When we greet someone with those suggestive words, “Happy Easter”, we are doing exactly this, reminding people that it is possible to be happy and that it is reasonable to call someone to joy. For Christ has risen and by his death all suffering is vanquished. May each os take part fully in this gift and wish the same for others, and let us encourage each other to make it know to everyone, seeing as we feel ourselves to be missionaries of God’s love.