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Friday, May 1, 2009

May 2009: Living as Easter People

One of my favorite notions about the Christian life is that we are called to be Easter people. Through our faith in Christ and by virtue of our baptisms, we are people who live in the power of Jesus’ resurrection. St. Paul emphasized this point when he wrote these words to the Church in Philippi: “I want to know nothing more than Christ, and live in the power of his resurrection.” (Philippians 3:10) St. Paul believed that dying and rising with Christ, and living in the power of Jesus’ resurrection is the central focus of the Christian life.

Hence, the resurrection is not just something that happened 2,000 years ago. The resurrection is not just something that will happen when Jesus returns at the end of time. The resurrection is something we experience and live out each day in our Christian lives.

What does it mean for us to live as Easter people? Here are a few ideas to ponder:
Easter people live their lives in relationship with the Risen Christ. They stay in touch with Jesus on a regular ongoing basis through prayer, worship, and Scripture study.
Easter people live with a sense of awe and wonder. They celebrate the goodness and beauty of life.
Easter people believe in the healing power of God’s love. We know that God’s love is the most powerful force in the entire universe, even stronger than death.
Easter people live with an abiding sense of hope. We have faith that God can bring about change and transformation through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Easter people share their faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ with others. (We all have our own styles of evangelism or sharing the Good News of God’s love in Christ.)
Easter people reach out to the poor and needy. They live out Jesus’ words, “When you did it to one of these least of these who are members of my family, you did it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)

This Easter season I want to underscore that we are empowered to be Easter people. Consequently, we live with a new perspective on life. We see the world through the eyes of the Risen Christ. We celebrate the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection as a spiritual force that is continually transforming our lives and our world. St. Peter articulated this Easter perspective when he wrote these words:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3
I wish all of you a joyous and blessed Easter season. Remember that we are Easter people – people who live in the awesome power of Jesus’ resurrection.

In the joy of the Risen Christ,

Fr. Paul +