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Devotional Thoughts for Easter

Rev. Fr. M. K. Kuriakose
Philadelphia, PA

If one would call the greatest event in Christian history, that event will be the Resurrection of our Lord.  The greatest of the miracles is the Resurrection and the greatest of the mysteries also is the Resurrection.  Sometime I wondered if I am qualified to touch this great divine mystery.

A single man who worked the shortest period of three and half years had created the highest sensation in the world.  Began as a small community of 12 disciples, it took hardly three centuries to ‘conquer the Romans Empire. It is interesting that the Roman Emperors were the most terrified by the inception of the new way life called Christianity.  The Roman Emperors tried for three centuries to uproot Christianity from its empire killing a few million Christians during that span of time. Finally the Roman Empire declared Christianity as its official religion in 308 A.D. during the time of Emperor Theodosius I.

How did a single person conquer the entire Roman world in three centuries? It was simply the power of the Resurrection.  Roman Empire had seen many great emperors who spread the empire to unseen borders and brought fantastic reforms but none of them could win more people than Jesus Himself, in spite of being the target of attack.  The one who was attacked by the emperors conquered the emperors.  The Romans used to conquer by the power of the sword but Jesus conquered them by the power of his love.  In the last quarter or the 3rd century and the first quarter of the 4th century AD Roman emperors systematically killed Christians. Diocletian alone killed millions hoping that Christianity can be brought under control.  But the people who believed in the way of Christ increased day by day throughout the Roman Empire.  Finally when Constantine became the Emperor, he knew it is impossible to remove faith in Christ and in addition he had the vision of the sign of the cross on the Sun and got converted.  Indeed his mother herself was already converted.  Thus through the Edict of Milan in 313, Christians were given freedom.

Christians today must remember the first three hundred years of history of the martyr Church.  “The blood of the martyrs became the seed of the Church”.  It was all simply because they truly believed in a resurrected Lord.  Christians were ready to be killed because they knew they will join the Lord after death.  Even today we can see many who are willing to die and kill for the sake of faith but the difference in the Early Church was that they did not kill or attack others but subdued themselves to attackers and showed The Way.  

The following reflections are ideal on Easter Sunday:

1. Concept of death as a frightening reality is changed to a hopeful reality.  Worry over death is the sign of one’s lack of faith in a living God. It is humanly difficult to understand that mystery of Resurrection but faith can answer that mystery which will give courage to live and die.

2. Resurrection gives us liberation from fear. Our Lord told his disciples, “Fear not” “peace be with you” when he appeared to them.  Today life in this world is not any more a joke. No one lives in peace. People are afraid to travel by land, sea or air because of terrorists. Any moment an ethnic, religious, linguistic, nationality-related, caste-related, etc. fight can break out.  Innocent people will suffer because of such fights that take place all the time all over the world.  The prosperity that Western world enjoy has been under threat.  No one can give security to anyone. One will never know what kind of neighbor one will have. Fear is ruling the world now.  Those who are afraid will fight for their existence.  But those who “live by faith” will never be afraid.

3. Resurrection assures us of the continuous presence of the Lord with us. Saul was not a fan of Christ. He may not have even seen the Lord while His ministry was on.  Later when the living Lord encountered him, Saul became Paul the greatest missionary ever the world saw.  That is why St. Paul said, “If Jesus did not resurrect our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain”.  Those who experience the continued presence of God in their life will never move from their faith even at the point of death.

4. Resurrection gave us the divine dimension of life.  Man always had the material dimension of life.  Jesus helped us overcome the worldly perspective of life.  Still many Christians do not understand this.  They keep trying the material dimension of life as the primary navigating principle for them.  We can see how easily they fail.  No matter who we are, unless we understand the divine God-oriented life, we can never bear witness to the Lord. Such people will not fight for material things like property, authority, material identity, power, and recognition.  Today’s Church is spoiled by such materially minded leaders who have nothing but worldly style to offer. This is the greatest challenge today.  Many don’t realize this.

5. Finally Resurrection confirms the sacrificial love that alone has victory.  ‘No pain, no gain,’ ‘no cross no crown’ ‘no sacrifice no victory’ ‘no love no God’.  Today’s people must learn this practical lesson and not the theoretical lesson.  It is the sacrifice of the Lord that gave Him victory over everything including Satan.  The world in which we all live today can only be saved with this message.  No power of ammunition, money, or rocket science can win the world.  The most simple, inexpensive, and ideal way is the way of our Lord that is sacrificial love that imposed no conditions, no legal complications, no constitutional arguments and therefore no court case.  Who wants this way of Christ?

Our Lord is Risen! Indeed our Lord is Risen! Let us all loudly say this and live in that experience.

Source: IOIF

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