It was the pastor of St.Paul's, Monsignor Nolan, who taught me the traditional Easter greeting and response:
Christ is risen!
Christ is risen, indeed.
I'm not sure who's tradition that was, but it's a nice one. Now lest you think I'm in some bizarre time warp and/or zone, it is in fact the day after Easter where I currently am. Still that does not change the fact that Christ rose from the dead, nor that his death and resurrection saved us all.
Sometimes when I think about that, everything else pales in comparison. Jesus' death and resurrection is a testament to God's eternal love and His sovereignty over the universe.
Historically there was a brand of thought that concluded since Jesus took away sin that all moral responsibility was abolished by Christ's resurrection. Historically most theologians laughed and giggled at such logic. After all, Christ gave us freedom, and if sin is our distance from God, we then have an option to cling to our sin. God then does not condemn us as punishment, but simply restrains Himself from stopping us when we ourselves choose the path to Hell. Least that's how I figure it
Moreover, if we love God, (and when you accept that God is eternally loving and supremely good, I think that you cannot reconcile anything less than a love for God with an acceptance of this reality), then to not try do good would be to deny our love. Christ's resurrection has freed us from sin, enabling us to love him and draw close to him with all of our hearts, minds, and souls, but in order to love God, and because of our love for God, we are compelled to strive to do His will. And this means we must take care of each other and indeed ourselves, as God loves us all.
But reflecting on the enormity of Christ's resurrection, of the culmination of the supreme miracle of Jesus' life, Passion, and death, a concept encompassing humanity, divinity, and the triumphant cross which bridged the two...it's more than the mind can wrap itself around (but there's good reason to believe that any real system of reasoning cannot fully encompass reality, after all the universe is infinite, and our minds are not).
Thinking about the miracle of Easter, which is not a task simply confined to one day or one week or one season... but though the compulsion to do good remains because of our love of God, the compulsion to fear evil seems a bit silly. It is a silliness that we all fall victim to on occasion, but even the fears and anxieties surrounding that failure seem insignificant compared to God's love, which bears all the burdens of our sins and redeems us, which forgives any slight and turns all things to good, which raises us from the dead and grants eternal life.
Jesus Christ, who is God, came down from Heaven and became man. He bore the cross, for the sake of our sins and not his, and was crucified and three days later He rose from the dead. He conquered death and gave life eternal to all. If we trust in Him then what can this world do to us? How can even our baser instincts and frailties prevail if He is with us, now and until the end of time. (and beyond maybe, if that concept makes any sense. I'll admit, when I go off into the realms of theology, mysticism and metaphysics, I often am in unfamiliar territory. But if I can draw upon the guidance and advice of those I trust, love and believe in, it seems like a good gamble. After all, what is life but an experience of mystery and is not Love the answer to all things?)
Let me not pretend that I am some special wise man, let me not pretend that I am the bearer of some secret. I have suffered in my life, but others have suffered more. I have faith, but I know others with far more. I am certainly nothing compared to God, and compared to man... how should I know? and fortunately it is not my place to judge such rankings.
Yet I believe God loves me with a unique, perfect Love, which I cannot match but will spend my life trying to further experience and return. And I believe that God loves each of you, uniquely, passionately, and infinitely. And I believe if I just trust in that love, everything will be alright and when I fail to trust sufficiently, when I despair or harden my heart, I believe that God will still be reaching out to me and I trust that He will save me.
That I could have more faith, that I could have more understanding, that I could have more compassion or more strength of will... but it's okay. God remains and will take care of us all. Christ is triumphant and will redeem us. We don't need to fear. God is with us, always, and forever.
May God Bless you all, and happy day after Easter